HoopsHype Lithuania rumors

August 21, 2012 Updates
August 12, 2012 Updates

Soon enough, James came back to make it all safe, first with a hammer dunk that opened up thanks to all the attention Durant was attracting, then with a 3-pointer inside the final two minutes over an isolated Marc Gasol that made it 102-93. "Big thanks to Lithuania for that tough game they gave us," Paul said, crediting a 99-94 scare in pool play for ensuring that Team USA could handle the tension of a tight game when it mattered most. ESPN.com

August 9, 2012 Updates
August 8, 2012 Updates

John Hobbs: Lithuania's Darius Songaila has announced his retirement from international basketball, following his side's 83-74 defeat to Russia. Twitter

August 7, 2012 Updates

"We went to the qualification in Venezuela on the first of June, and some of our players came straight after they finished (professional) seasons,” (Lithuanian head coach Kestutis) Kemzura said. “ Of course (the Olympics) matters. We were fighting for this place. I don’t understand this idea of sending younger players, not sending our best to the Olympics. I do not understand it. If we leave everything on money, and money runs the show, where’s the sport? Where’s national team idea?” Yahoo! Sports

Valanciunas has not made much of an impact for Lithuania so far at these Games. This is a far cry from what he did in Eurobasket, when he played 15.7 minutes, averaged 8.4 points and 4.1 rebounds, and had 18 points on 8-for-9 shooting in a stellar game against Serbia. Sporting News

Coming off the bench, and without the prospect of beginning his NBA career in less than two months, Valanciunas seemed to put less pressure on himself to produce last year. Now, he is pressing. Beyond that, Kemzura said, Valanciunas still needs a lot of work. “It is like with most big men who have no experience,” Kemzura said. “First he must get bigger and stronger. He must be able to hold his position and he needs strength for this. Second, he needs better post moves. He is still learning basics. He will play with his back to the basket when he is older. But now, he must learn. He needs to learn these things, and he will, but he will need time. He has a lot of work to do.” Sporting News

August 6, 2012 Updates
August 4, 2012 Updates

It takes good fortune for Lithuania to stay with Team USA, and that comes with open 3-pointers that clank away and missed free throws. Lithuania coach Kestutis Kemzura confessed that his staff made hard decisions on the U.S. players they were willing to let shoot (Chris Paul, Deron Williams) and those who always had to be contested (Durant and Anthony). Sometimes, it worked. Sometimes, there was a price to be paid. "You have to pick your poison," Kemzura said, "and decide how you want to die." Yahoo! Sports

Marc Stein: Lithuania's Darius Songaila told me postgame he hopes to sign back in NBA ASAP. Definitely had his moments vs. Team USA: 11 pts in 17 mins Twitter

Such memories naturally come flooding back in advance of Saturday’s Group A game between the teams, especially since Jasikevicius, now 36, is still running the show on occasion for the Lithuanians in his fourth Olympics. "Saras is the best quarterback Lithuania has ever had," says Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, using Jasikevicius' well-known nickname after serving as an assistant on the Lithuanian bench for multiple trips to the Olympics at the request of close friend and Lithuanian legend Sarunas Marciulionis. Reminded that Saras is participating in the Summer Games for the fourth time, Nelson added: "He must be drinking from the same fountain as [former Mavericks point guard] Jason Kidd." ESPN.com

“There are like 250,000 Lithuanians in Great Britain,” said veteran forward Darius Songaila, who had stints in the NBA with Sacramento, Chicago, Washington, New Orleans and Philadelphia before returning to Europe the past two seasons. “A lot of people come out and support us. We find Lithuanians working in the stands and security and the cafeteria. Everywhere. The crowd is unbelievable coming out and supporting us. It’s almost like a home game.” ESPN.com

July 9, 2012 Updates
July 1, 2012 Updates

Mark Jones: Raptors quietly hoping Valenciunas not in Olympics. Raps source "he needs to get into NBA mode in summer league.its a big adjustment for him" Twitter

June 26, 2012 Updates

Stefanski, general manager Bryan Colangelo, head coach Dwane Casey and director of sports science Alex McKechnie went to Houston this weekend to watch Valanciunas, the fifth pick from last year’s draft, and small forward Linas Kleiza take part in Lithuania’s camp in advance of next week’s Olympic qualification tournament in Venezuela. “There could have been a foul called on every bounce of the ball. This kid didn’t back down once. That’s what I like about him most: He doesn’t back down against older men who are pushing and shoving and hitting him.” National Post

June 25, 2012 Updates

Details of Valanciunas' buyout for Lietuvos Rytas aren't solved yet. "I hope that everything will be okay - there's no conflict between us. I get a lot of positive attention from Raptors. People care about me. Right now they are here, they talk with me, show interest. That makes me think positive and I can't wait to test myself in the NBA. I had supper with Raptors representatives, we talked about things which were discussed before - only now we talked about all the details," said Valančiūnas, who also says that he feels very welcome. ATN.lt

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