Is there a saying that we remember and honor the great times in the past? There should be and I’ll try to do just that and remind you of the golden heroes of Eurobasket 2003 and where the paths of life lead them. There are going to be five series – in the first four we’ll take a look at the players, while in the last it’s going to time for the coaches. Shall we begin?
#4 Giedrius Gustas
Gustas was the only player not to score points in that championships, he saw a total of 7 minutes on the court and was a benchwarmer for most of the time. After Eurobasket 2003 he also participated in two more European championships (2005 and 2007) and one World Championships (2006) and brought a European bronze from Spain in 2007. After a worst probable story with missed free throws against Maccabi, Gustas left Lithuania and continued his career in Russia, Latvia and is now playing basketball in Greece. In 2008 he won the Eurocup final with Barons Riga and was chosen the Final 4 MVP.
Žalgiris – Eurobasket 2003 – Žalgiris – Lokomotiv Rostov – Barons LMT – Dynamo Moscow Region – Barons LMT – EKK Kavala
#5 Mindaugas Žukauskas
Mindaugas was the glue that stuck the team together on defense. Though scoring minimally (3,3 points per game) he spent an average of 19 minutes per game. Žukauskas’ main task was always to stop the opponent leader – whether it would be Dirk Nowitzki or Peja Stojakovič. The player also played in the Athens Olympics, Eurobasket 2005 and the World Championships in Japan a year later; in both occasions he was the team captain. Mindaugas Žukauskas continued playing in Italy where he represented Montepaschi Siena and Scavolini Pesaro.
Siauliai – Zalgiris – Union Olimpija – Montepaschi – Eurobasket 2003 – Montepaschi – Scavolini
#6 Arvydas Macijauskas
Coming to the team after a great season with Lietuvos rytas, Macijauskas was the top scorer of the team with 15,8 points a game. A great shooter didn’t miss a single free throw in the tournament and shot an amazing 42 percent from downtown. He later on played in the Athens Olympics, World Championships 2006 and was the team leader there as well. Macijauskas went on to play for the Spanish side TAU, tried his luck in the NBA with the Hornets, but came back to Europe and signed a big deal with Olympiakos. He’s now more often seen in the courts, battling with Olympiakos for his contract than playing basketball.
Neptunas – Lietuvos rytas – Eurobasket 2003 – Tau Vitoria – Hornets – Olympiakos