Šarūnas Vasiliauskas: I am happy and honoured to play for Lithuanian basketball team

Šarūnas Vasiliauskas
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

Last week, he was free to talk exclusively to the Lithuania Tribune about his career, his future and the national team.

Šarūnas, you are now playing in the Polish league. Can you tell the differences between the Lithuanian and the Polish leagues?

It’s hard to say, because it is only the second year that I am playing here. Now Lithuanian league has 3 participants in Europe: Žalgiris Kaunas, Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius and Neptūnas Klaipėda. So it means that the Lithuanian basketball league level has increased. But the difference, I think, is that more foreign players are playing here in Poland. In Polish league the game is more individual, while in Lithuania they are more focusing on position and smart game.

Where do you enjoy more to play? In Lithuania or in Poland and why?

It is not so clear yet. Of course, it is a fact that you always want to play at home, because you know more players, you are speaking the same language, but I am happy in my position here in Poland as well.

You never tried to be drafted to the NBA, what is the reason?

Its another level league, for bigger and stronger athletes. They are other style players than I am, so I never tried to be a part of that.

How did you become a basketball player?

I started to play basketball at six. Since I was a very active kid, my parents decided that I had too much energy at home, and decided to send me to play basketball. And from that time, I have been playing basketball. Yes, of course, I love other sports, too, like soccer and volleyball.

You were an important part of the all youth Lithuanian squad, but you only joined the main adult squad last year. Do you think that you could have contributed to the team earlier? What was the reason that coach Kazlauskas didn’t call you in earlier?

This year was a different story in the national team. Coach Kazlauskas called me because of a lot of injuries in the team and most of the injured players played in my position. I am happy that coach Kazlauskas invited me to the team, and I had a chance to be with the best Lithuanian players, to be guided by great coaches and just to be a part of it.

In the last world championship Lithuania took the fourth place. In your opinion, what was missing for the national team in this championship in order to come home with a medal?

First of all, it is important to note that fourth place is a very good result. Especially with the problems that we had in the preparations for the world championships, but of course, when you are in the top four in the world, you want to reach medals, small things and bad luck prevented us from getting back home with awards from the world championship, but as I said, we are proud of our result.

Do you think that Kleiza‘s missing from the squad had something to do with the results? Did Kazlauskas do the right thing when he cut off Kleiza?

All the players who can’t come to the training camps, because of their injuries, or some other problems, are a big miss for such a small country as ours, but if one guy can’t play, there are other guys who are ready to show the best performance to help the national team, and to represent the country in the best way.

The Eurobasket will be this year. How is the Lithuanian team preparing for it, and how you are personally prepared for this championship?

First of all, everybody has clubs where they are playing, so I am thinking just about that and I believe that other players are as well. After you finish the season, you can start to think about preparation camps and the national team. The main, and the biggest preparation starts usually in the summer for players, while the coaches are preparing during the whole season, and bringing new information and new methods to the players in the summer training camps.

For you personally, how is it important to represent the Lithuanian team?

Every kid dreams to be a part of the Lithuanian squad and to wear the Lithuanian jersey with his number, so it is a big honor to be in the national squad, and to help as much as you can.

In Trefi Spot you are scoring 13.4 points on average in 27.6 minutes of playing, do you think that by achieving such good stats you might find yourself next season in one of the top European clubs?

It is too early to talk about next season. All my thoughts right now are concentrating on this season. I am not thinking about the next, because then it is not helping you to achieve things which you want to achieve, but first of all, it will be the best thing to finish the season without injuries.

What are your goals for the rest of the season?

Our team is thinking now how to achieve to the playoffs, of course with getting a better place in the regular season if its possible, but step by step. I hope that everything will be ok, and maybe we will finish this season like the previous one, with medals in our hands.

The Lithuanian team is very strong, but the league is not one of the best in the Europe. Why is that?

It is happening because we are a very small country, where the economy is not so strong, and the clubs don’t have as much money like in other countries. Therefore, we have less good players, but during the last couple of seasons, the level has increased, and is going to be better and better.

Where will we see you in five years from now? Where would you like to be?

You never know where you can be tomorrow or next week, so it is hard to say anything about five years from now. It is a lot of time, because in sports, everything changes so quickly sometime, but I hope that I won’t have any kind of injuries, and I will be in a basketball court!

You are playing in the position of a point guard. Which skills do you need in order to be a good point guard?

The point guard position has a lot of different kinds of players who are playing different styles. One player likes to pass more, the other likes to shoot, the third one is good at dunking, but the most important thing is to play with your head, I mean you need to be a smart player, to be a right hand of a coach in the field.

You are not the only Lithuanian in Trefi. Eimantas Bendžius and Taudvydas Lydeka are also playing there. How important is it for the club and especially for you to have more people from the same country?

It is always a pleasure to have players from your country, because you can speak your language, joke with them, and talk about your country’s problems. I am happy that the team takes us like a friend, and not like some foreigners who are screaming and yelling.

Before the end, say something to the readers that no one knows about you.

In my free time I like to watch movies and to listen music, but the thing that not many people know about me is that I hate to eat eggs and also sushi.


Vasiliauskas, who is standing good stats during the season, probably will be a part of the next Eurobasket in 2015. His importance and his experience are important to the Lithuanian team that would like to come back home with gold medals.

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