How Zalgiris made it again to the top with low budget

How Zalgiris made it again to the top with low budget

Zalgiris Kaunas – the biggest club in Lithuania, in a country where they breathe basketball. This game is a culture, a religion, a national identity and every kid dreams to be a big name in basketball history just like Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Jonas Valanciunas or Domantas Sabonis.

We all know that the trend to bring American players to the squad is very common all over Europe. Every team searches for free American players and take them out of NBA or other teams in the world or even from college. It is very important to have some American players in your squad because they bring explosiveness and a better flow to the game. But even more important is how you train them and how you teach them to play for the team and to respect coach instructions.

That`s the main strength of coach Jasikevicius. He managed to help the new players integrate faster and also explain to them that basketball is the most important thing in Lithuania. If you accept to play for a Lithuanian team, you have to respect the game. You have to bring all your qualities and abilities on the floor and help your team to win. If you play for Zalgiris you have to forget about personal stats and records: you play for the fans and for the team.

This summer, Zalgiris made some changes in their roster but keeping the Lithuanian core and the key Americans Brandon Davies and Aaron White. Some important players from last year left the team and here we can name Axel Toupane, Kevin Pangos and Vasilije Micic. Despite having a low budget compared with other Euroleague teams, Zalgiris managed to bring in new faces like the French Leo Westermann, the Lithuanian Marius Grigonis and three Americans Nate Wolters, Thomas Walkup and Deon Thompson. All three Americans came from medium teams in Europe with lower financial expectations than Euroleague powerhouses. But coach Jasikevicius believed in them, he saw their potential, their discipline and gave them the best instructions to play basketball in the right way.

After winning the last 6 games from Euroleague regular season, they managed to reach the playoff, ahead of other teams with a bigger budget like Olympiacos, Milano, Maccabi or Khimki. Last year it was the same story, Zalgiris with a low budget managed to reach the Final Four and also to beat CSKA Moscow in the battle for the third place. You don`t need 10 Americans players and a huge budget to have decent results. You only need dedication, professionalism, respect for the game and a very good and passionate coach.

Good luck to Zalgiris in the next phase of Euroleague. I have huge respect for them because of the way they treat the game of basketball.

Bogdan Vasile Tirc,

How Zalgiris made it again to the top with low budget

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