On Tuesday, the final roster of the Lithuanian 3×3 basketball team that will go to Graz (Austria) was announced. On May 26-30, team Lithuania will compete in the Olympic qualifiers to win the ticket to the Tokyo Olympic games.
Final roster – Aurelijus Pukelis, Darius Tarvydas, Šarūnas Vingelis and Ignas Vaitkus. Paulius Semaška and Modestas Kumpys will travel to Austria with the team, filling the gaps in case of positive coronavirus tests or injuries.
„One of the most difficult decisions in life, because I see how much everyone worked”, – said head coach Dainius Novickas. – We want to travel with the strongest and healthiest players at the moment. We will have to go out as one and fight together. Pukis, I think, is the TOP3 of the world’s best 3×3 centers. Vingelis is among the TOP3 shooters. Darius has probably the most experience and his Olympic peace will be much needed, and Vaitkus, I dare say, is the best 1×1 player in trio basketball.”
Pukelis is the first representative of Lithuanian trio basketball in the world ranking, Tarvydas won the title of the best Lithuanian trio basketball player last year. Vingelis demonstrates almost the best form of his career in the current SAVY.LT Lithuanian 3×3 basketball championship, and last year Vaitkus was recognised as the most impressive player in the FIBA World Tours.
„I would like to thank the Utena team that released Ignas and let him join 3×3 national team”, – said the head coach.
„We have talked before, but until now it was not clear whether such things would be possible, especially if we would have managed to stay 3rd in the standings after the regular season,” – said Vaitkus. – The biggest „thank you” to Žydrūnas Urbonas and the whole organization for supporting me.
Now I play sports, do necessary procedures and try to catch up with the rest of the team. I know the players, but we still need to reorient to 3×3 basketball – it’s faster, you can give more contact, and I think that will come soon and I will give my best to get to the Olympics.”
The national team will travel to Austria on May 25th, and the players who have not reached the final four will remain in the national team’s system and will be preparing for the qualifiers to the European Championship, which is set for June.