The 16-year-olds who conquered Europe returned home: the coach of the golden national team explained the reasons for the triumph

Lithuanian youths beat their peers from Spain 77:68 in the final of the European Championship. This is the first gold medal for the boys’ national team of this age group since 2008. T. Purli’s pupils did not stumble once in the championship.

“I would like to thank all Lithuanian residents, we really felt their support. It’s great that so many people support youth basketball. This shows that basketball is really alive in Lithuania,” said the coach who returned to Lithuania with his students.

This was already the third Lithuanian final in this year’s youth championships – previously 20-year-old boys won silver, and 18-year-old girls won gold.

T. Purlys explained how special this 16-year-old team is, in which the coach believed from the very first training session.

“I always believed in these guys. They really did a big and hard job. They did what was needed. I believed it from the first minutes. I really liked the brutally good work in training from the first minutes, which was reflected in the result.

We are a very uniform team in terms of height: we practically did not have a midfielder, but we led in rebounds, because height does not determine everything in basketball, we were very mobile. Both the players and the coaching staff were very team-oriented,” said T. Purlys.

The composition of the European champions this summer consisted of Mantas Laurenčikas, Nojus Indrušaitis, Kasparas Jakučionis, Neds Raupelis, Paulius Narvilas, Kevin Šacs, Matas Buteliauskas, Kristupas Smirnovas, Rokas Kreišmontas, Dovydas Buika, Steponas Žilakauskis and Mantas Juzēnas.

Tomas Purlys, Šarūnas Ciparis, Rokas Kondratavičius, Eugenijus Timofejevas, Austėja Miniotaitė, Eglė Tamošaitienė and Aistė Paškevičiūtė worked in the coaching staff of the Lithuanian 16-year-old national team.

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