The Lithuanians did not lose once during the seven control confrontations, having dealt with the Estonian, Finnish, Spanish and finally the Dutch teams. Even before the first confrontation in Klaipėda with Estonia, Mr. Kuzminskas assured that he does not want to force events and will wait as long as necessary so that a minor injury does not torment him.
M. Kuzminskas, who last played on the court on February 10, scored 11 points (4/5 doubles, 1/3 triples) in 17 minutes in the match against the Dutch, rebounded 3 balls.
“I would say that we won with such a normal margin because, with all due respect to the Netherlands, we have better quality players,” M. Kuzminskas testified after the match. – As for our game, there are definitely things to improve, I made countless mistakes myself.
The coaches draw, say that number 30 cannot shoot, but we let him shoot three-pointers. There are things to be corrected, thank God there is still time. It’s a matter of concentration.”
M. Kuzminskas smiled when explaining his return: “It’s good to come back, because not only have I not played a match since mid-February, but I haven’t had time to practice five-on-five.”
It felt special at first, but step by step I hope to get into shape. Right away, I would like to thank the whole team, starting with players, coaches, for their support. Our medical staff is, I think, generally the best in Europe. Thanks to them.”
– How do you feel about being back? Can you fight at full strength?
– I am 80 percent ready. Now the team will rest, and I will work individually with the coaches, it is necessary to use the time and get used to it. The biggest weakness right now is the lack of rhythm in the game.
At first, after running a few times across the field, it felt like I needed an oxygen tank. The first thoughts were to play even before Estonia, but it didn’t work out, doctors didn’t recommend it. I made the decision to try it myself, but the injury recurred. I hope she’s in the past.
– You watched six matches from the bench. What impression did the game of the Lithuanian national team leave?
– Good. I think we have a lot of potential and we’re pretty good at it. There are just a lot of small things to fix.
The same concentration – we cannot lose it. For example, if a combination is drawn after a minute break, we can’t go out and not do it. These are the little things that need to be fixed and hopefully everything will be fine.
– You say that you are 80% ready. Is that injury still holding you back?
– I think it’s a bit of a psychological thing. When you seem to have recently returned and you know that if you get injured today, you won’t be going anywhere. Psychological protection is in the subconscious whether you like it or not.
– You know Domantas Sabonis well, how do you assess his growth?
– I’ve always said that he has things that you can’t develop during training, they are innate. Some comparisons can be made with his father. Our little ones are not used to the center being able to take the ball off and run it over. And still make the transfer. They themselves run up and ask for the ball, although you should shave forward and wait for it to be passed.
I think he opens up a lot of roads, he opens up the court and he’s grown as a player, from what I’ve seen, very clearly.
Self-confidence is especially felt. Earlier, in the first year, he returned to Lithuania, he was very upset because of his performances. And now he is completely free and you can see that he is enjoying it.