Armands Šķēle in 2009
|No. 22 – Free agent|
September 4, 1983 |
|Listed height||6 ft 3 1⁄2 in (1.92 m)|
|Listed weight||200 lb (91 kg)|
|2013–2014||Gamateks Pamukkale Üniversitesi|
|Career highlights and awards|
Armands Šķēle (born September 4, 1983) is a Latvian professional basketball player who last played for VEF Rīga. Šķēle has been a long time member of Latvian National Team having played at five European Championships and totally 99 games for National Team. He has also been a fan favorite due to his creative style of play.
Šķēle started his pro career very early by debuting at age of 16 for Brocēni which at the time was top team in Latvia. In 2001 he moved to Poland where he signed multi-year contract (3+3) with Anwil Włocławek, where he won Polish championship and played very well, so he began to attract attention from stronger clubs. At that time he was a highly rated prospect in Europe and his game was compared to Serbian star Aleksandar Đorđević.
In 2004, he was pursued by Real Madrid as they sought talented Latvian to back-up Louis Bullock, but Anwil asked half-million dollars and deal fell through. In the same year Šķēle was a candidate for NBA Draft, but ultimately went undrafted. Šķēle later was cited saying that it was mainly due to poor work by his agent. Šķēle felt that other same aged European players who worked out with him during pre-draft, for example Sasha Vujačić or Roko Ukić, were on the same level with him or even below it, but their representatives did better job off-court and got their players drafted.
Following experience in Poland he played two seasons in Belgium. In summer of 2006, he was bought out from contract with Anwil by Latvian side Barons LMT that reportedly cost them around 70 000 euros. He spent three seasons with Barons and most successful was in 2007–2008 when Šķēle led his team to the FIBA EuroCup and the Latvian Basketball League championships.
After three seasons playing for Barons, in 2009 off-season Šķēle became free agent and he wanted to leave for a stronger team. He had multiple offers from Spain's ACB League clubs as well as few from Italian Lega A, but eventually they couldn't close an agreement and Šķēle was without club until late October when he moved to Lega A club Basket Napoli. Team in Naples had financial problems and after few months it went bankrupt and Šķēle had to look for a new team. At that period for a second time in his life he suffered meningitis. Surprisingly Šķēle made amazing comeback in the same season and returned to the court after being out only three months by joining Latvian squad BK Ventspils.
In 2010, Šķēle's agent couldn't find a suitable team and he had to wait eight months till early 2011 when he signed with Ukraine's Ferro-ZNTU. After only one game Ukrainian club decided to break agreement, because they feared Šķēle wasn't healthy enough after previous health issues, although he practiced with team without any restrictions. Soon after his short stint in Ukraine Šķēle moved to Estonia by signing with BC Kalev/Cramo. Šķēle went on and played three seasons for Kalev/Cramo, winning Estonian championship in each year.
In September 2013, after playing for Latvian National Team in EuroBasket 2013, he joined Kalev/Cramo for the fourth season. On November 25, 2013, he signed with Turkish team Gamateks Pamukkale Üniversitesi.
For the 2014–15 season, he returned to Kalev/Cramo.
In October 2015, Armands joined Valmiera/ORDO, uniting together in same team with his younger brother Aigars. Armands led underdog Valmiera to its first ever Latvian championship in 2015-16. He won one more Latvian championship with VEF Rīga in 2016-17 and was a key player to help his team make VTB League playoffs for only second time club history.
Latvian national team
- 1998–99 Latvian League (BK Brocēni)
- 2002–03 Polish League (Anwil Włocławek)
- 2004–05 Belgian Cup (Liège Basket)
- 2004–05 Belgian SuperCup (Liège Basket)
- 2007–08 Latvian League (Barons LMT)
- 2007–08 FIBA EuroCup (Barons LMT)
- 2010–11 Estonian League (BC Kalev/Cramo)
- 2011–12 Estonian League (BC Kalev/Cramo)
- 2012–13 Estonian League (BC Kalev/Cramo)
- 2015–16 Latvian League Valmiera/ORDO
- 2016–17 Latvian League VEF Rīga
- Terra.com (in Spanish)