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Thread: 3X3 in Lithuania

  1. #121
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hepcat View Post
    I suspect that Ernestas Sederevičius and Modestas Kumpys had gotten in touch with Coach Dainius Novickas around the time of the Anykščiai training camp in late February to indicate that they'd like to be part of the Lithuanian 3x3 program in future.
    Modestas Kumpys indicates in this article that it was Coach Novickas who contacted him about participating in the 3x3 camp a day or two after his Gargždai team was eliminated from the NKL playoffs on March 19th:

    3x3 Olympic Team - Basketnews.lt

    Quote Originally Posted by Hepcat View Post
    So the LKF submitted a preliminary roster to FIBA of the team that will compete for an Olympic spot at the Qualifying Tournament to be held in Graz from May 26-30th. The roster does not have to be finalized until May 18th.
    Evidently what's special about the May 18th date is that by then the first round of the LKL playoffs will have been completed and whether the Utena players can participate or not will be absolutely clear. Moreover three Stops of the Lithuanian 3x3 Championship - in which basically two teams from the training camp are participating - will by then have been played.

    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-03-2021 at 08:29 PM.

  2. #122
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hepcat View Post
    Interesting too that a team comprised of:

    Dainius Novickas
    Marijus Užupis
    Šarūnas Vingelis
    Paulius Beliavičius

    Won Stop 3 of the St. Petersburg tournament last February:

    United League Europe 3x3 Schedule Stop 3 2020
    It seems that Coach Dainius Novickas jumps at each and every chance to play in 3x3 tournaments. When the Kauno Tauras team of Paulius Semaška, Šarūnas Beniušis and Žygimantas Šimonis needed a fourth for the Lithuanian 3x3 Championship last August in Panevėžys because Jonas Mačiulis who'd played for them in the July Hoptrans Tournament wasn't available, Novickas took Mačiulis' place. Tauras got to the final but then lost 21-12 to Šakių Gulbelė which consisted of Aurelijus Pukelis, Šarūnas Vingelis, Paulius Beliavičius and Marijus Užupis.

    2020 Lithuanian 3x3 Championship


  3. #123
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    So the threesome of Aurelijus Pukelis, Šarūnas Vingelis and Paulius Beliavičius from Šakių Gulbelė made quite the statement that their own unaltered Šakių Gulbelė team should be the one to represent Lithuania at the Olympic Qualifying Tournament when they emerged with a 21-10 victory on Sunday over the Kauno Tauras team consisting of their fellow training camp participants Paulius Semaška, Modestas Kumpys and Šarūnas Beniušis with Herkus Kumpys filling in as a late replacement for Žygimantas Šimonis.

    Darius Tarvydas had led Gulbelė in scoring in the three games through the QF by scoring 24 points but it was thought prudent to sit him out of playing in the last two games when he pulled a leg muscle in the QF.

    Aurelijus Pukelis ended up leading Gulbelė in scoring with 33 points in the five games.

    Šarūnas Vingelis scored 31 points in total including seven two pointers from beyond the arc most of which came in the final two games. Not surprising perhaps since Vingelis made 66/133 (49.6%) shots from beyond the arc for Šakių Vytis this past season.

    Paulius Beliavičius scored 17 points over the five games.

    We'll see whether the same transpires this coming Sunday in Stop 2.


  4. #124
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    So in Stop 2 on Sunday Marijus Užupis is slated to compete for the first time since November! He'll be taking the court together with his Šakių Gulbelė teammates Aurelijus Pukelis, Šarūnas Vingelis and Paulius Beliavičius.

    Meanwhile Žygimantas Šimonis will return to the Kauno Tauras fold with Paulius Semaška, Modestas Kumpys and Šarūnas Beniušis.

    We'll see what transpires!

    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-07-2021 at 05:46 PM.

  5. #125
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    So in today's 3x3 semifinal it was:

    Šakių Gulbelė 21 Kauno Tauras 19

    Close this time. Both teams were 3-0 going into the semi.

    Pro Championship Scores - Stop 2

    Gulbelė now meets Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas (on which Ernestas Sederevičius plays) in the final.

    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-09-2021 at 03:55 PM.

  6. #126
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    In a surprisingly low scoring final it was:

    Šakių Gulbelė 18 Vytauto Didžiojo Universitetas 17

    Aurelijus Pukelis won the shootout competition with 13 baskets.


  7. #127
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Since none of these Lithuanian 3x3 Championship games are on Youtube nor have I been able to find any stats sheets, it's difficult to assess the games or pronounce upon the players. I am however willing to make two observations on the basis of the first two Stops:

    1. While Šakių Gulbelė is the cream of the crop, Marijus Užupis must still be rusty since Gulbelė was more dominant in the first Stop before Užupis replaced Darius Tarvydas. Hardly surprising though.

    2. Kauno Tauras was a better team in Stop 2 when Žygimantas Šimonis rejoined Paulius Semaška, Modestas Kumpys and Šarūnas Beniušis from the national team camp. This doesn't surprise me either.


  8. #128
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Interesting the lineup Tauras will be fielding tomorrow in Stop 3:

    Kauno Tauras: Paulius Semaška, Herkus Kumpys, Šarūnas Beniušis and Žygimantas Šimonis

    So Herkus will be playing in place of (his brother?) Modestas from the 3x3 training camp. Whether Modestas may have hurt himself is the question.

    Darius Tarvydas will be back on Gulbelė's roster:

    Šakių Gulbelė: Aurelijus Pukelis, Šarūnas Vingelis, Darius Tarvydas and Paulius Beliavičius


  9. #129
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    It's interesting to look at the results of the last two major international 3x3 tournaments in which Lithuania has competed:

    FIBA World Cup 18-23 June 2019

    Roster: Paulius Beliavičius, Evaldas Džiaugys, Marijus Užupis and Šarūnas Vingelis

    Lithuania 21 France 17
    Slovenia 21 Lithuania 20
    Qatar 20 Lithuania 16
    Lithuania 18 China 13

    Final Standing: 9th out of 20


    FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup 30 August - September 1 2019

    Roster: Paulius Beliavičius, Aurelijus Pukelis, Marijus Užupis and Šarūnas Vingelis

    Lithuania 22 Austria 18
    Lithuania 22 Latvia 14
    Lithuania 21 Hungary 9
    Serbia 20 Lithuania 19
    Lithuania 21 Spain 18

    Final Standing: 3rd out of 12


    Hopefully the presence of Darius Tarvydas and Aurelijus Pukelis on the team later this month in Graz will make all the difference.


  10. #130
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    A Lithuanian U23 team with Dainius Novickas as coach also competed on the world stage in 2019 but to no avail.

    FIBA U23 World Cup 2-6 October 2019

    Roster: Mintautas Bulanovas, Evaldas Džiaugys, Laurynas Danielius and Justinas Jogminas

    Serbia 19 Lithuania 12
    Lithuania 18 South Korea 17
    Mongolia 21 Lithuania 19
    Netherlands 21 Lithuania 12

    Final Standing: 15th out of 20

    For what it's worth Justinas Jogminas won the dunk competition.

    Interesting that none of these four players were invited to participate in the 3x3 camp in late February. Here's where they've been playing:

    Mintautas Bulanovas: Bulanovas was part of the Alytaus Dzūkija 3x3 team at the Hoptrans Tournament in July 2020 and he had a relatively undistinguished season for Mažeikių Ereliai in 2020-21. He played for the Marijampolės Suduva team in Stop 1 of the current 3x3 Championships in Garliava.

    Evaldas Džiaugys: Džiaugys was part of the Prienų CBet 3x3 team at the Hoptrans Tournament in July 2020. He had a decent season for Molėtų Ežerūnas in 2020-21 although his shooting wasn't stellar. He's playing for the Marijampolės Suduva team in the current 3x3 Championships in Garliava.

    Laurynas Danielius: Danielius was a bench player for Vilkaviškio Perlas in 2020-21. He's playing for the Nevėžis team in the current 3x3 Championships in Garliava.

    Justinas Jogminas: Jogminas was part of the Prienų CBet 3x3 team at the Hoptrans Tournament in July 2020 and was a bench player for Prienų CBet in 2020-21. What's held his game back is shooting at which he's not very good.

    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-19-2021 at 04:18 PM.

  11. #131
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    So Šakių Gulbelė once again cruised to a relatively comfortable first place finish in Stop 3. The score in the final:

    Šakių Gulbelė 21 Kauno Tauras 13

    Ignas Razutis of Telšiai won the shoot-out competition.

    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-16-2021 at 06:30 PM.

  12. #132
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    When the preliminary roster of Aurelijus Pukelis, Darius Tarvydas, Modestas Kumpys and Paulius Semaška was announced for team LT in late April, I suspected that two Kauno Tauras players were included with two Šakių Gulbelė players just to encourage heated competition between the two teams at the Lithuanian 3x3 Championship in Garliava. Admittedly I've seen neither any of the games nor any of the stat sheets from the first three Stops in Garliava, but it's very clear that Gulbelė has easily been the better of the two teams to this point. Gulbelė has won all fifteen of its games so far including these games over Tauras:

    STOP 1

    Gulbelė 21 Tauras 10

    STOP 2

    Gulbelė 21 Tauras 19

    STOP 3

    Gulbelė 21 Tauras 13

    I'd therefore be inclined to simply go with the intact Šakių Gulbelė team of Aurelijus Pukelis, Darius Tarvydas, Šarūnas Vingelis and Paulius Beliavičius to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz on May 26th.

    Looking at the question in another way, shooting from distance is of paramount importance in the 3x3 game since shots from beyond the arc count for twice the value of a shot from closer to the basket. Moreover foul shooting is also critically important since penalty situations where two foul shots are awarded for infractions arise late in most games and foul shots count for the same one point as close range field goals. I've watched several dozen games on Youtube since late February and the team that shoots better from beyond the arc and the charity stripe is almost always the winner. Moreover the really good teams all shoot very well. Team LT is therefore not going to beat the really good teams unless it has really good shooting itself.

    Šarūnas Vingelis and Paulius Beliavičius both shoot better than either Modestas Kumpys of Paulius Semaška. Here are the players' comparative shooting stats from the 2020-21 NKL season:


    Šarūnas Vingelis - 3PT 66/133 (49.6%) - FT 25/26 (96.2%)
    Paulius Beliavičius - 3PT 65/189 (34.4%) - FT 26/33 (78.8%)
    Modestas Kumpys - 3PT 53/175 (30.3%) - FT 60/105 (57.1%)
    Paulius Semaška - 3PT 39/146 (26.7%) - FT 35/58 (60.3%)

    Žygimantas Šimonis - 3PT 59/129 (45.7%) - FT 38/53 (71.7%)


    Žygimantas Šimonis compiled some interesting numbers for Marijampolės Sūduva-Mantinga this past season but I've been unable to assess his play in Garliava.

    In conclusion, since the Utena players aren't available for the Graz Qualifying Tournament, I'd be very surprised if the Team LT coaches don't simply send the Šakių Gulbelė team to Graz.

    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-18-2021 at 10:06 PM.

  13. #133
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    So the final roster for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz beginning May 26th has been announced. Barring injury the team will consist of Aurelijus Pukelis, Darius Tarvydas, Šarūnas Vingelis and Ignas Vaitkus whom Utena has graciously released to the national team. I'm pleased. From everything I've seen and read in the past twelve weeks, this does indeed appear to be the best selection of players.

    Paulius Semaška and Modestas Kumpys will accompany the four designated players to Austria on May 25th in case emergency replacements are needed. The other players who've been taking part in the national team effort will continue participating in that regard with the European championship pending in June.


  14. #134
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Ignas Vaitkus was the player that I most coveted from the Juventus roster for Team LT. His addition to the solid core of Šakių Gulbelė players leaves me thinking that Team LT now has a very real chance of qualifying for the Olympics in Graz. Summarizing the roster:

    Aurelijus Pukelis: At #12 Pukelis is the highest ranked Lithuanian in FIBA's 3x3 player rankings. He was also the MVP of the NKL in 2020-21. He was almost unstoppable down low in the St. Petersburg Tournament. Coach Dainius Novickas ranks Pukelis among the top three 3x3 centers in the world.

    Darius Tarvydas: Tarvydas was the MVP of the Hoptrans Tournament in Palanga last July. He was voted Lithuania's 3x3 player of the year for 2020. He's represented Lithuania in 3x3 competitions on more than one occasion. He was also the leader of the Jonavos CBet team that tore through the NKL this past season.

    Šarūnas Vingelis: Vingelis hit a stellar 66 of 133 three pointers and 25 of 26 free throws for Šakių Vytis this past season. Coach Novickas says Vingelis has been playing the best basketball of his life over the first three Stops of the 2021 Lithuanian 3x3 Championship and is among the top three 3x3 snipers in the world.

    Ignas Vaitkus: I was wondering why Vaitkus didn't play in the second game of the QF against Prienų CBet on May 15th and now we know that he'd been released to the Lithuanian 3x3 camp by his Utenos Juventus club team. Vaitkus has expressed gratitude to the management of Juventus for allowing him to pursue a chance to compete at the Olympics. He's already quite familiar with his teammates not only because he played with Darius Tarvydas on the Utena team in 2020 and against Gulbelė players Aurelijus Pukelis and Šarūnas Vingelis in 3x3 competitions six times last year, but he's been training with them on-and-off at camp since late February. He says that he only needs to re-orient himself to the 3x3 game and is accordingly working with his teammates on tactics and specific plays.

    Vaitkus hit 83.9% of his free throws for Juventus this past season and had an average PER of 14 in 26:21 of playing time. He was the most efficient player on the abbreviated 3x3 World Tour last year. Coach Novickas rates him as the single best 1x1 player among the 3x3 players in the world.



    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-19-2021 at 06:19 PM.

  15. #135
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Here are some of FIBA's recent musings about Team LT's chances in Graz:


    Ranking the Pools

    Quote Originally Posted by FIBA
    3) Men's Pool B (USA, Lithuania, Belgium, Kazakhstan, South Korea)

    USA and Lithuania should dominate this pool and their matchup with be one of the highlights of the group stage.

    Can you imagine the USA not being at the Olympics in hoops? It's hard to believe but there are no guarantees in 3x3.

    After underachieving at the international level, the USA memorably broke through at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2019 where Robbie Hummel proved he could rival anyone in 3x3.

    They also have World Tour stars Dominique Jones and Kareem Maddox – along with Canyon Barry, who is the son of NBA legend Rick Barry – but Europe Cup 2019 bronze medalist Lithuania won't be intimidated and are also stacked with talent from Sakiai and Utena Uniclub, who have quickly proven to be elite World Tour teams.

    USA and Lithuania have had many epic basketball games on the big stage and now it's their turn to repeat the dose in 3x3.

    One Question for All Men's Teams

    Quote Originally Posted by FIBA
    Lithuania

    Can Pukelis do it without his partner in crime?

    Aurelijus Pukelis is a flat out 3x3 star and perfectly complements lethal lefty Marijus Uzupis in a killer one-two punch for Sakiai, who quickly became a 3x3 force. The duo led Lithuania to a bronze medal at the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup 2019 but Pukelis will be without his uzi in Graz.

    Lithuania should still be able to get out of the group but don't quite have the chemistry that has become a hallmark of Sakiai on the World Tour.

    Pukelis will have a lot of burden in Graz and he will try to form a one-two much with his new Sakiai teammate Darius Tarvydas, who's a deadlier shooter than a "Call of Duty" gamer.

    Who are the men's favourites? - FIBA

    Quote Originally Posted by FIBA
    Lithuania - No. 6 in Rankings
    Lithuania has a wealth of 3x3 talent. Led by Aurelijus Pukelis, who was part of the FIBA 3x3 Europe Cup 2019 bronze medal team, he enters this event with a new group of teammates, including the World Tour 2020 Most Spectacular Player Ignas Vaitkus, to get the country qualified for 3x3's Olympic debut.


  16. #136
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hepcat View Post
    So the final roster for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Graz beginning May 26th has been announced. Barring injury the team will consist of Aurelijus Pukelis, Darius Tarvydas, Šarūnas Vingelis and Ignas Vaitkus whom Utena has graciously released to the national team.
    The last time all four players stepped onto the court against each other was at the Debrecen Masters on 29 August 2020:




  17. #137
    Moderator Mindozas's Avatar
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    It's very good that Utena and Urbonas decided to let Vaitkus play, even tho club GM Skersis was completely against it. That's a huge boost for our NT and our chances. Other than that pretty much the best we could have, bearing in mind that Uzupis is not ready yet at 100%, so Vingelis looks like a the most reliable sub.

    Talking about chances, we must get out of the group, no excuses, but only yesterday I realized that we won't play against group A in next round, but group D teams... WTF. Poland/Mongolia would be much easier than Latvia/Canada with Kyle Landry or Netherlands. That's the group of death there, especially with Austria playing at home and showing decent results lately. I could only imagine us finishing 2nd in group and going against well gelled and strong Latvia in do or die game for us... fck


  18. #138
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Eeeeek! I too thought Pool B would go against either Pool C or Pool A in the QFs. After all, the typical pairings in these situations/events are A-D and B-C or else A-B and C-D. A-C and B-D is bizarre and has the effect of matching the strongest teams against each other in sudden death OFs.



    At this point I'm ranking the teams thus:

    Favourites

    U.S.A.
    Latvia

    Contenders

    Lithuania
    Netherlands
    Slovenia

    Hopefuls

    Canada
    France
    Austria
    Mongolia

    I wasn't overly concerned about Lithuania's QF opponent when I thought it would come from Pool C or A but Pool D is a different kettle of fish entirely. The way it stands Lithuania will have to beat at least one of the two co-favourites just to advance to a semifinal.

    Last edited by Hepcat; 05-21-2021 at 08:13 PM.

  19. #139
    Senior Member Hepcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mindozas View Post
    It's very good that Utena and Urbonas decided to let Vaitkus play, even tho club GM Skersis was completely against it.
    Eimantas Skersis can/should console himself with the fact that it will be a real feather in the cap for Utenos Juventus if Team LT makes the Olympic games and Ignas Vaitkus (as well as Darius Tarvydas who played for Juventus in 2019-20) are part of the squad.


  20. #140
    Moderator Mindozas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hepcat View Post
    Eimantas Skersis can/should console himself with the fact that it will be a real feather in the cap for Utenos Juventus if Team LT makes the Olympic games and Ignas Vaitkus (as well as Darius Tarvydas who played for Juventus in 2019-20) are part of the squad.

    It's easy to talk for us, who doesn't care too much about Juventus' results, but he is hired employee, who is responsible for results of club and first of all results, so obviously he doesn't want Vaitkus to go and none 3x3 success would make him too happy if Juventus will fail the end of the season. Also not every fan of Juventus cares about these players' journeys to 3x3 tournaments, far from that. I understand Skersis' annoyance of this situation, but since Urbonas is not just coach, but also president of club, he has the upper hand. Luckily for us - 3x3 fans


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