Zalgiris gets back to work in the first practice 1
Zalgiris gathered to the first practice of the season on Thursday, with some young players joining in the absence of the five Lithuanian national team players and Jock Landale, who will be representing Australia in the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The first cycle of practice is traditionally meant for the physical preparation of the players, and run by specialists Justinas Grainys and Nerijus Navickas.
With the first practice coming to an end, Zalgiris TV talked to Zalgiris head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius, as he shared his thoughts on the revamped Zalgiris roster and the preparations for the upcoming season, and this past summer.
“Personally, there was too much rest… Nevertheless, the summer is very long and it’s one of those pleasures in life, when you can visit foreign countries, visit all you friends all over the globe. There was more than enough rest, maybe even too much. It’s fun to be back and I want to get back to work.“
After last season, Zalgiris’ main team saw a drastic change in personnel, but according to the coach, the team’s management and coaching staff should be happy with what they’ve managed to put together roster-wise.
“We didn’t anticipate that many changes, but we understand our situation – the bigger clubs come down and buy the players. We have to start thinking about the team, the game style again, and how these new players will gel into the team. We’ve got a lot of new players this year, but we’ve actually gotten used to it.”
Zalgiris saw the likes of Jock Landale, Zach LeDay, Nigel Hayes and Alex Perez joining the green-and-whites, while Lukas Lekavicius makes his return after two years in Greece.
“We got a lot of the players we wanted, and now we’ve got to see how those players look in our system. This summer was pretty good in that regard. Of course, the World Cup is mixing things up for us, but that’s the case for more or less every team. Everyone’s got the same problems, and everyone’s solving them their own way.”
One of the younger faces on the practice ground was 17-year-old basketball talent from France Tom Digbeu. Sarunas Jasikevicius was happy the team managed to sign such a high-profile youngster, but noted that there’s still a lot of work to be done.
“You know, he’s a talented player and we’re happy to have him here. We hope he continues to improve and we’ll have an eye on him as much as possible, but it all really depends on him. Preparations are focused on team activities, though. We’ll see how it goes. We need to spend a lot of time in the gym, look at what our youngsters are capable of, how they adapt to changes, and then we’ll make decisions.”
Jasikevicius also shared some of the plans for upcoming practices of the team.
“The first cycle will be more or less three days with Justas, with Nerijus, all the physical preparation team, then we will start hitting the gym. We’re not rushing into things. More or less, the same system as every year.”