The “late” sniper of the national team shook off his shackles: the reason is not the starting five

9.3 points and 43 percent. aiming for long shots – this was the performance of R. Giedraitis in the friendly matches of the national team this summer.

In the two statistical graphs, which are worth looking at first to evaluate the sniper’s game, the numbers of the 30-year-old representative of Vitoria “Baskonia” (Spain) club almost doubled during the year.

Of course, these are not yet official tournament statistics. R. Giedraitis and the entire national team will start filling it from a new page on Thursday in Cologne, where the matches of Group B of the European Championship start.

The basketball player born in Taurage, but raised in Šiauliai, faded a bit in the two world championships selection matches that ended his training (7 points, 38 percent of three-pointers). However, this is already better than in previous years.

Last year in the Olympic selection it was very bad, I remember I was running around like crazy on the field.

Rock Giedraitis

The peer of the “golden” generation of Jonas Valančiūnas earned his place under the sun in the Euroleague earlier than in his homeland.

In the youth national team coached by Kazis Maksvytis, which collected all possible titles, he also appeared later than the others. But managed to win the world 19-year-old and European 20-year-old titles.

After that, I had to think about the threshold of the adult national team for a long time.

The first son of “Šiauliai” legend Robert Giedraitis was invited to the 2019 world championships Dainius Adomaitis.

Called up and forgotten at the back of the bench: the rookie only got a chance to show off in China in the last match against the Dominican Republic. All that R. Giedraitis excelled at that time was the only two-point shot during the entire tournament.

Two years later, when Dariis Maskoliūnas was called, Berlin ALBA The status of the Lithuanian who wore the (Germany) shirt was already different.

In the 2019-2020 season, R. Giedraitis was eleventh in terms of performance in the entire Euroleague (average 13.8 points), and he maintained a similar level after moving to the Basque country the following year.

But at the Olympic selection tournament in Kaunas, the defender, who can also play as a light winger, was unable to offer anything similar.

5 points and just 29 percent. long shots – in the short tournament, R. Giedraitis did not manage to get in, and the time of the player who could not find a place on the floor decreased in every match.

Now R. Giedraitis looks more like a Euro-level version of himself. What has changed during this time?

“I don’t think I started playing basketball twice as well. Maybe the reason is that before there was too little rest, I didn’t have time to prepare. Last year in the Olympic selection it was very bad, I remember I was running around like crazy on the field.

We prepare for the season in the club for a month or two, and that time we had to prepare for the tournament in two weeks. On the other hand, I’m already 30 years old, inner peace and confidence are coming little by little”, – on the eve of the European Championship, while communicating with Delphireasoned R. Giedraitis.

He started to pick up the pace from control duels with the Spanish national team. It was then that K. Maksvytis began to include his former student in the youth national team in the starting five, and the latter, as a thank you, scored several three-pointers in the first half.

However, the basketball player himself claims that he does not emphasize the circumstances in which he enters the match.

“It’s good for me to start both in the starting five and from the bench. Actually, no difference. It is important that I feel my role in the team, the coach’s trust. And I don’t care about the minutes of the game. Especially in such a national team – here it is only important to win, and it doesn’t matter who plays how much.

Our main advantage is that we have two good “centers”. And very good other men who will really contribute and give their all. This year we got along especially well, the atmosphere is very good, there are no grumbles. The most important thing is that it always stays like this on the court, so that we don’t start pointing fingers at each other when we fail. Of course, it is difficult to speak when it has not yet been verified in practice”, said R. Giedraitis.

Since June, the Lithuanians have won all nine matches played – so the team’s reaction to the failure is really just a theory for now.

The threat of turning it into practice will soon be very real as the championship begins with an extremely complicated series with defending champions Slovenia, Tokyo Olympic runners-up France and hosts Germany.

“But I don’t want to start thinking about what will happen if we lose now – I think we will win. I’m only thinking about the first game and then we’ll see from there. In general, I don’t want to hear anything about psychology – we are basketball players, we have to go and play, enjoy basketball. Especially in the European Championship, after being among the 12 best Lithuanian players. You need to represent the country and give yourself one hundred percent,” R. Giedraitis is convinced.

Last year’s story will give Lithuanians an additional incentive on Thursday, when Luka Doncic and the company slammed the door on the Tokyo Olympics. R. Giedraitis does not hide: his nails have been really itchy since then.

“Now I don’t dream about that match anymore, but at the beginning it was very painful. When you remember everything, you really want to take revenge on them,” said the basketball player.

How is the Lithuanian team going to deal with the fantastic abilities of L. Dončičius and the additional trump card of Goran Dragičius who appeared next to him this time?

“We have a plan, we will try to stick to it. How different is it from last year? It will be completely different, but for now I don’t really want to reveal the details”, R. Giedraitis intrigued.

The match between Lithuania and Slovenia will start at 18:15 on Thursday. Lithuanian time.

From 3:30 p.m. The teams of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary will play in Cologne, starting at 21:30. a confrontation between France and Germany awaits.

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