BC Lietuvos rytas
|BC Lietuvos rytas|
|Leagues||Lithuanian Basketball League,
VTB United League,
|Team colors||Black, White and Red
|Team Manager||Martynas Purlys|
|Head coach||Dirk Bauermann|
BC Lietuvos rytas is a professional basketball club based in Vilnius, Lithuania playing in the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL), the VTB United League, and the Euroleague. Since 2004 they play their home games at 11,000-seat Siemens Arena. 1,700-seat Lietuvos rytas Arena was also used for some games, but nowadays Lietuvos rytas only use it for practice. Lietuvos rytas had a daughter club BC Perlas which was used for the development of young players. It was dissolved in 2011.
Franchise history 
The team now known as Lietuvos rytas began playing as Žalgiris in 1963. Soon it was renamed to Plastikas, and, finally, in 1965, to Statyba. This name was used for over 30 years. Jonas Kazlauskas, Rimas Girskis, and then head coach Rimantas Endrijaitis led Statyba to a third place in the 1979 Soviet Union Championship. Three years later, Šarūnas Marčiulionis joined the team and became its leader. In 1987, Artūras Karnišovas joined the team at the age of 16.
Statyba becomes Lietuvos rytas 
In 1997, the team was renamed to Statyba-Lietuvos rytas, then just Lietuvos rytas as the club was bought by the Lithuanian newspaper Lietuvos rytas. The newspaper's investment helped the club to establish itself as one of two best in Lithuania, the other being BC Žalgiris from the country's second-largest city Kaunas.
"Big three" 
The first success came in 2000, when Vilnius' side was led by the so-called "big three" — Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Andrius Giedraitis and Eric Elliott, also combined with youngsters Arvydas Macijauskas and Robertas Javtokas. The team was coached by Šarūnas Sakalauskas. It was the first time in the history of the Lithuanian Basketball League when Žalgiris did not win the LKL title. Also, Rytas managed to reach the Saporta Cup semifinal, where it met last season Euroleague runner-up Kinder. After an upsetting home win 70-60, Lietuvos rytas lost in Italy 71-83, with Šiškauskas missing a three-pointer which would've won the two-game series for his team.
2001/02 season 
Two years later, Lietuvos rytas repeated their triumph, this time in a dramatic seven-game final series with the last game decided in overtime. The team played without center Robertas Javtokas, who was seriously injured in a motorbike crash. Lietuvos rytas also won the NEBL title in 2002, becoming the last team winning the tournament. The team held first place in the group stage of the Saporta Cup, but lost in the quarter-finals to Hapoel Jerusalem B.C.
2004/05: ULEB Cup champions 
After not winning any title in the two past seasons, Lietuvos rytas won the 2005 ULEB Cup, granting them a place in the Euroleague, the continent's primary basketball club tournament. Midway through the season, team leader Frederick House suffered a season-ending injury, head coach Vlade Djurovic was resigned and replaced by Slovenian Tomo Mahoric, but newcomer Tyrone Nesby, Latvian playmaker Roberts Štelmahers and an inspirational Lithuanian trio: Robertas Javtokas, Simas Jasaitis and Tomas Delininkaitis led the team and managed to win second place in the LKL and BBL finals.
2005/06: Euroleague debut 
Before the 2005–06 season, Croatian specialist Neven Spahija became the head coach of the team. Lietuvos rytas started the 2005-06 Euroleague season well. After losing their first two matches, Lietuvos rytas matched the Euroleague record by winning seven consecutive Euroleague fixtures, defeating such teams as Winterthur FCB, champions Maccabi (twice) and Efes Pilsen. In the Euroleague, they were able to advance to the Top 16 phase, winning three times out of six. After winning the Baltic Basketball League title, Lietuvos rytas won their easiest finals series, crushing Žalgiris 4–0. Despite winning the Lithuanian title, Lietuvos rytas did not acquire the country's spot for 2006-07 that was reserved to the archrival Žalgiris.
2006/07: ULEB Cup runner-up 
Although the coach and three leading players: Robertas Javtokas, Simas Jasaitis and Frederick House had left the team during the interseason, the 2006-07 ULEB Cup season was rather successful for Lietuvos rytas as well, despite that two coaches were replaced during the season: Sharon Drucker from Israel was replaced by Slovenian Zmago Sagadin and the latter to his assistant coach Aleksandar Trifunović from Serbia. The roster was strengthened during the season when promising NBA player Kareem Rush arrived to lead the team to the ULEB Cup final where Lietuvos rytas was defeated by Real Madrid. However, Real Madrid's victory at the ACB semifinals and of one of four spots reserved for Spain allowed Lietuvos rytas to take part in the Euroleague 2007-08 season as the ULEB Cup finalist. On April 27, 2007, Lietuvos rytas won their second consecutive BBL title, Kareem Rush was named the Final Four MVP.
2007/08: Back to Euroleague 
On October 25, 2007, Lietuvos rytas started its second Euroleague season in Group B with a road victory against Armani Jeans Milano. The team was led by Marijonas Petravičius, who reached a career-high performance index rating of 28 and became the week's MVP runner-up. On November 1, Lietuvos rytas defeated Maccabi for a third time in a row as Artūras Jomantas led the team with 19 points and became the week's co-MVP with Erazem Lorbek, both having performance index ratings of 29. Lietuvos rytas finished the first round of group competition in the first spot with 5 victories and 2 losses for the second consecutive time, overcoming Cibona Zagreb by 34 points in the final match. The year 2007 ended with two more victories in the second round, allowing Lietuvos rytas to repeat their previous 7-2 record in Euroleague. The last one, the fourth victory in a row over Maccabi, was due to spectacular performances by Hollis Price (19 points) and Chuck Eidson (28 points). On January 23, 2008, Lietuvos rytas proved itself against Unicaja Málaga at own home court, the victory secured the team the first berth in the group with one game remaining, but lost forward Matthew Nielsen to injury. A road victory against Cibona Zagreb on January 31, 2008 completed the Euroleague regular season for Lietuvos rytas and allowed them to remain at the first spot in the Group B securing a favorable position in the first pool before the Top 16 draw together with CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid and Panathinaikos Athens. Their 11-3 record was the team's best regular-season performance ever, and the best by a Lithuanian team in Euroleague. The team failed to succeed in the Top 16 and did not advance to playoffs. Lietuvos rytas were the runner-up at all: the Lithuanian Basketball League, the Baltic Basketball League and the Lithuanian Cup.
2008/09: ULEB Eurocup champions again 
The 2008–2009 season was met by the team with a significantly reduced budget, putting a greater emphasis on young and perspective local players, however in October 21, 2008, Lietuvos Rytas had a first chance ever to play against NBA basketball club Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Lietuvos Rytas lost that game with result 106:126. A single American and two Serbs remained in the team after Australian Matthew Nielsen was resigned. Nevertheless, Lietuvos rytas managed to win the first ever Baltic Basketball Presidents Cup. They also won their first ULEB Eurocup 2008-09 match which proved to be a success defeating ASVEL by a considerable margin. As many other Baltic professional sports clubs, Lietuvos rytas had to face the blow of financial crisis in late 2008 and early 2009. Having lost two of its foreign leaders Lietuvos rytas still managed to reach the second phase of Eurocup finishing second in their group with three home wins and three away losses. The team has started second phase of the Eurocup with only two foreign players, Chuck Eidson (a teammate of Petravičius at South Carolina) and Milko Bjelica on its roster which had been refreshed with promising Lithuanians. Head coach Antanas Sireika has resigned and was replaced by a former Statyba-Lietuvos rytas' player Rimas Kurtinaitis for the second half of the season. Lietuvos rytas has finished the Top 16 phase of the cup in a second place after Iurbentia Bilbao. Chuck Eidson was named the ULEB Eurocup regular season MVP.
The Final 8 has started with a victory against Benetton Treviso on April 2, 2009. The team has won semifinals against Hemofarm Vršac and made the third consecutive play in the ULEB Eurocup finals. Mindaugas Lukauskis has made a decisive three-pointer and that allowed him to become the only player to participate in the final three times in total and the only two-times ULEB Cup champion. The final game against BC Khimki Moscow was won on April 5, 2009 with terrific performances of Steponas Babrauskas (18 points) and Marijonas Petravičius (20 points). Lietuvos rytas made an outstanding 15:0 run, having left their rivals empty for 6 straight minutes in the third and fourth quarters. Lietuvos rytas became the first team in history to reclaim the Eurocup title. Marijonas Petravičius became the Final 8 MVP.
Lietuvos rytas won the 2009 Lithuanian Cup over Žalgiris. The Baltic Basketball League final game was won by Lietuvos rytas on April 25, 2009 over its archrival Žalgiris, 97 to 74. It was the third BBL title for the club, compared to Žalgiris' two. Another victory achieved by the fast-rising club Lietuvos rytas was the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL). Lietuvos rytas swept past all the teams in the playoffs and qualified to the finals. In the finals, the Vilnius team confronted their rival team Žalgiris Kaunas and won the series 4 to 1, the final match taking place on May 18. This was the 4th time Lietuvos rytas became the LKL champion. It was the 5th trophy of the season for the team from 5 possible ones.
2009/10: Third Euroleague season 
Lietuvos rytas, following the leave of team's leaders Marijonas Petravičius, Mindaugas Lukauskis and Chuck Eidson, acquired new perspective players. The team began their season with a dramatic loss to their rivals BC Žalgiris 78 to 83 in BBL Cup finals. Lietuvos rytas also participated in the 2009 Gomelsky Cup, in which the team claimed third place after a near-loss game against Triumph Lyubertsy 94 to 90. Lietuvos rytas took the 5th place in Group B of the 2009-10 Euroleague season and did not advance to the Top 16.
Though Lietuvos rytas did not advance to the Top 16, their fierce battles with BC Žalgiris continued. After winning the LKF cup by the score of 77:65, Lietuvos rytas suffered a crucial loss, losing to Žalgiris in the BBL Finals, 66 to 73. However, Lietuvos rytas took revenge after such loss and won the LKL trophy, beating Žalgiris after a thrilling series 4-3. Lietuvos rytas won the second consecutive LKL title. After the conclusion of the season, head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis left the club to be replaced by Croatian Dražen Anzulović.
2010/11: Fourth Euroleague season 
The Euroleague 2010–2011 season was the fourth one for Lietuvos rytas. After an unsuccessful start of the season, Dražen Anzulović was replaced by the team's former coach Aleksandar Trifunović. The result being 0-4 in their Group C, the team signed free agent Lithuanian star and a former team member Šarūnas Jasikevičius. After winning 3 of 3 last Euroleague group phase games, rytas qualified for the Top 16 in the fourth berth during their last games. At the New Year's Eve Jasikevičius was replaced by a former member of the team Simas Jasaitis, also a free agent.
The Top 16 phase was the most successful for the team from all its 3 attempts. Playing in the Group E Lietuvos rytas defeated Caja Laboral at home, Panathinaikos Athens and Unicaja Málaga on the road. The last round remaining, the team had a chance to finish first in their Top 16 E group.However, Lietuvos rytas lost to Caja Laboral and took the third place in the group. The 9th place in Euroleague is the highest achievement for Lietuvos Rytas in this tournament in whole club history. However, the other side of the season was unsuccessful for the club as Lietuvos Rytas lost in the semi-finalas at the Baltic Basketball League and finished only in 3rd place for the first time in club history. The Coach Trifunovic was replaced by asssistant coach Darius Maskoliūnas. The game improved, but the team ended up losing to Žalgiris in the LKL finals, 4 games to 1.
2011/12: Return to EuroCup 
After dismissing Milko Bjelica, Kenan Bajramovic, D.J. Strawberry, Cemal Nalga and losing team leader Martynas Gecevičius, Lietuvos Rytas replaced 8 players and opened a new page in club history. The beginning of the season was not very successful as Lietuvos Rytas didn't win Euroleague's qualification tournament which was organized in Vilnius. Lietuvos Rytas won the first match against Budućnost with a score 83:64, and the semi-final against Cibona Zagreb with a score 88:71. The final game for the ticket to Euroleague was against Galatasaray. During the second quarter Lietuvos Rytas had a 9 point lead, however team leader and main Point Guard Tyrese Rice suffered a leg injury. After the Tyrese Rice injury Galatasaray made a streak of 15:2. Tyrese Rice returned to the game after the half-time, but he was not as effective as before the injury. At the beginning of the fourth quarter Galatasaray had 16 point lead, however Lietuvos Rytas did not stop trying as they made 10:0 streak. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough time left to win the game and Galatasaray won the qualification tournament final with a score of 63:71. Because of that, Lietuvos Rytas played at the second Europe's league EuroCup. The team, led by Renaldas Seibutis, Jonas Valančiūnas and Tyrese Rice, made it to the EuroCup quarterfinal round for the fourth time in history. Rytas defeated BC Donetsk in the quarterfinals, but lost to Valencia Basket in the semifinals. The team finished third after defeating Spartak 71–62.
Lietuvos rytas finished 3rd in the regular season round of VTB United League and qualified for the eighth-final. They defeated BC Nizhny Novgorod there and advanced to quarterfinals where they met BC Khimki. Khimki were reigning Eurocup and VTB league champions and they were considered heavy favorites, but, unexpectedly, Rytas won their first game at Siemens' 71-82 and third game at Khimki 103-78 and won the series. The Final Four tournament was organized at Siemens Arena. After a tense semifinal Lietuvos Rytas lost to CSKA and went on to win 3rd place against Lokomotiv-Kuban.
Despite two 3rd places in international competitions, Rytas lost the LKL final series to Zalgiris 0:3. This was the worst domestic season for Rytas in history; Rytas lost all 6 of its matches (5 in LKL and 1 in BBL) to its rival. Following the conclusion of the season, Tyrese Rice, Lawrence Roberts, Aleksandar Rašić and Jonas Valančiūnas left the team.
2012/13: Fifth Euroleague season 
After losing most of the leaders during the summer, Rytas formed a younger squad. Players like Nemanja Nedović were expected to be the future of the team. However, the season was not very succesful. It started with losing the Lithuanian Supercup to BC Žalgiris. After struggling to find rhythm in the opening months, Lietuvos Rytas released coach Aleksandar Džikić, promoting Maskoliūnas as head coach. Though the game has improved, thanks to the solid play of Leon Radošević, Renaldas Seibutis and Nemanja Nedović, the Euroleague season was finished only with a 2-8 record. The team did not fare much better in the VTB United League. After Leon Radošević and Predrag Samardžiski were released, Rytas signed Milt Palacio, Tomislav Zubčić and Patrick O'Bryant. However, the rookies didn't help much and Rytas still missed the VTB playoffs, with BC Donetsk defeating Rytas in the deciding game. Coach Maskoliūnas was fired then and replaced with Bauermann. Due to the new coach Rytas started to play much better, and in April scored a shocking away win over BC Žalgiris (first one in almost 2 years). Rytas made the LKL finals for the 15th time in a row. However, BC Žalgiris easily swept Lietuvos Rytas 4-0 in the final.
Current roster 
Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined by FIBA. Players may hold more than one nationality.
Lietuvos rytas roster
Depth chart 
|C||Tautvydas Lydeka||Tomislav Zubčić|
|PF||Mindaugas Katelynas||Vilmantas Dilys|
|SF||Gediminas Orelikas||Eimantas Bendžius||Artūras Jomantas||Simas Buterlevičius|
|SG||Renaldas Seibutis||Jānis Blūms||Steponas Babrauskas|
|PG||Nemanja Nedović||Milt Palacio||Dovydas Redikas|
Squad changes for the 2013/14 season 
Out on Loan 
Former Rosters 
Season by season 
Notable players 
In Statyba 
- Dainius Adomaitis 1993–1996
- Rimas Girskis 1968–1983
- Artūras Karnišovas 1987–1990
- Jonas Kazlauskas 1973–1985
- Linas Kvedaravičius 1985–1990
- Šarūnas Marčiulionis 1982–1988
- Algimantas Pavilonis 1973–1985
- Alvydas Pazdrazdis 1989–1992
In Lietuvos rytas 
Notable head coaches 
- Jonas Kazlauskas 2001–2004
- Rimas Kurtinaitis 2008–2010
- Neven Spahija 2005–2006
- Aleksandar Trifunović 2007–2008, 2010–2011
- Baltic Basketball League champions: 2006, 2007, 2009
- Baltic Basketball League Presidents Cup winners: 2008
- ULEB Eurocup champions: 2005, 2009
- North European Basketball League champions: 2002
- Lithuanian Basketball League champions: 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010
- Lithuanian Cup winners: 1998, 2009, 2010
- Lietuvos rytas - Welcome to EUROLEAGUE BASKETBALL, euroleague.net, accessed 31 December 2010.
- Lietuvos Rytas - Golden State Warriors game at Oracle Arena
- Lietuvos Rytas won first match of the qualification tournament (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas also won the second match of the qualification tournament (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas lost the final match of the qualification tournament (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas 1997-98 Roster
- Lietuvos Rytas 2000-01 Roster
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: BC Lietuvos Rytas|
- Official website (Lithuanian) (English)
- BC Lietuvos rytas Euroleague.net (English)
- BC Lietuvos rytas LKL.lt (Lithuanian)
- BC Lietuvos rytas BBL.net (English)
- BC Lietuvos rytas VTB-League.com (English and Russian)