(Originally posted by Sashikas, 03-04-2006, 12:04 AM)

Šarūnas' younger brother Vytenis was interviewed by our fellow Almantas in "Lietuvos žinios" daily. Here's the translation of the interview.

Vytenis Jasikevičius: please do not compare me with my brother

20 year old 187 cm tall Vytenis Jasikevičius is directing the play of "Žalgiris-A.Sabonio mokykla" (NKL, second Lithuanian league) and Kaunas University of Technology (LSKL, Lithuanian students' legue) teams.

The younger child of former ping-pong player Linas and handball player Rita, was literally damned to become a professional sportsman. Besides parents, he had another example - older brother Šarūnas.

Tried his luck in USA and came back home

- Vytenis, you have grown up in the sport professionals' family. Did the passion for basketball came up early?
- Yes, I have chosen basketball at once, my mother brought me to the trainings. I have seen earlier, that my brother started playing. When I was way smaller, not attending any trainings yet, Šarūnas was bringing me to the gym and was teaching: "Come here, take some throws", though my throws didn't reach the rim. In the first grade, I already knew, that I want to play basketball. I've started to attend basketball trainings, never tried other sports.

- What is your reaction, when somebody is comparing you with your brother?
- It is getting me nervous. For some reason everybody, who see me, are starting to compare me with my brother. But I am reaching for what is mine. I feel pleasure playing basketball not because my brother became famous, I am playing for myself. We are different people. Šarūnas is a professional, he has reached in his life a lot already. And what about me? I am still making the starting steps to that world.

- I hope you won't get upset, if I will ask you, what are the similarities and the differences between you and your brother on court?
- It is hard for me to judge, the coaches are noticing such things more quickly. We both are guards, our height is similar. We have alike throw technique, both can score... But we are different people, so it is hard to compare.

- Do the famous name help you on court, or vice versa?
- Maybe it obstructs a little bit, but it also helps. It depends on the situation, so I couldn't answer unambigously.

- A year before you went to study and play to USA. Could you tell, what caused such your decision, and how it went?
- I wanted to try different type of basketball, to see different country. When Šarūnas was playing there, when he was younger, he used to say: "Come there, try it". There you have the opportunities not only by playing basketball, but also by studying well. The most important thing is studying, not basketball. If your studies are bad and you are not a supertalent, you won't be playing basketball for that school or university. You have to reach a particular level of grades, to play basketball.
When I am remembering that year, it is pleasing, good impressions come back. The schools are completely different, than here in Lithuania. The people also are different. I was studying in a private, so called rich school, but others were quite friendly, they loved me. It was fun.
I did not plan to stay in America just for year, but later I did not want to go back there, there was no attraction. I have seen their life, got familiar with it, but I have more freedom here. I've understood, that I can seek for the same here in Lithuania. I can play and study here, so I have decided not to go back to the US.

Strenght of the team - work rate and desire to develop

- "Žalgiris - Sabonio mokykla" team is one of the leaders in NKL. What are the reasons of your successful play?
- The main reasons are the work rate and a desire to develop. We are putting a lot of efforts, to play that good. We are a very young team, when the players gathered together for the first time, I thought it will be very hard. But we started to practice together, and we saw, that we can play good. I think we are capable to win NKL championship.

- Young team is leading in NKL championship. Doesn't it tell, that the league is weak?
- I don't think, that the league is weak. There quite a lot of experienced players in NKL, as well as talented youngsters. Very good young players are gathered in our team, and they will reach the heights of basketball in the future. When such talented players are playing together and working a lot, this is causing success.

- You are the oldest player in the "Žalgiris" youngster team. Do you have any special duties on court?
- The coach is saying, that I have to watch after everyone. If somebody is doing something wrong, I may tell them something about it. Speaking seriously - I am treating everyone as equal to me. It is not that important, whether I am older or not. We are united team, we get well together, so the difference of couple years does not make any significance.

- As you are older than your teammates, you probably are seeking for higher goals next season and play for the team at higher level. What are your plans?
- Yes, I would like to play at higher level next season. At this moment I don't have concrete plans, but in the new season I would like to try my luck in some team of Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL). I would like to get in the wider waters, to start professional basketball career. Where, what and how it will be - i can't imagine right now. I am not thinking about it, as the season is not over yet. Right now I am taking practices, working on my skils, and when the time will come - we'll see.

- You was a member of the second "Žalgiris" team three years ago, when you became LKAL champions. Could you compare that team with the current one?
- It is very hard to compare, because I was the youngest member of that team, and did not get a lot of playing time. So the victories weren't that joyfull as for those, who were playing for 40 minutes. I am feeling more comfortable in the current team, because I spend more time on court, and the coach trusts me. Three years ago there was a completely different feeling, when I was comming on court. The current team may be seeking for the same victories, as the one 3 years ago.