BC Lietuvos rytas
|Lietuvos rytas Vilnius|
|Founded||1997 (as Lietuvos Rytas)|
|Team colors||Black, White, Red
|Team manager||Martynas Purlys|
|Head coach||Tomas Pačėsas|
5 Lithuanian Championships
3 LKF Cup
1 North European League
3 Baltic Championships
1 Baltic Presidents Cup
BC Lietuvos rytas, also known simply as Rytas, is a Lithuanian professional basketball club based in Vilnius, Lithuania. The club, founded in 1997 on the basis of another club, BC Statyba, is one of the most successful Lithuanian basketball clubs. Rytas, among other titles, have won two Eurocup titles, five Lithuanian League titles, three Lithuanian Cups and three Baltic Championships. Lietuvos Rytas plays their home games at 11,000-seat Siemens Arena and 2,500-seat Lietuvos rytas Arena. They also had a daughter club Perlas which was used for the development of young players, but after two seasons in LKL it was dissolved.
Some of the greatest Lithuanian basketball players have played for Lietuvos Rytas over the years including: Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Arvydas Macijauskas, Jonas Valančiūnas, Martynas Gecevičius, Renaldas Seibutis, Simas Jasaitis, Robertas Javtokas, Darius Songaila, Marijonas Petravičius, Rimantas Kaukėnas, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Gintaras Einikis.
- 1 History
- 1.1 The origins (1963–1997)
- 1.2 First successes (1997–2004)
- 1.3 Foreign coaches era (2004–2008)
- 1.4 Rimas Kurtinaitis era (2008–2010)
- 1.5 Big dreams, small achievements (2010–2014)
- 1.6 Seeking for the past glory (2014–present)
- 2 De facto BC Lietuvos rytas anthem
- 3 Players
- 4 Honours
- 5 Season by season
- 6 Team records in LKL
- 7 Important people and venues
- 8 Notable players
- 9 Notable coaches
- 10 Individual awards
- 11 Matches against NBA teams
- 12 Sponsorships and partners
- 13 Video game
- 14 References
- 15 External links
The origins (1963–1997)
In 1963 first basketball team from Vilnius, called Žalgiris, was formed. Next year it changed its name to Plastikas. The same year, 1964, Plastikas players joined a new team, called 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. In 1994 Statyba won bronze medals in first LKL season.
In 1995 biggest Lithuanian newspaper Lietuvos rytas started sponsoring Sūduva Marijampolė, a basketball club from Marijampolė, Lithuania. The partnership lasted for two seasons, during which the team was known as Lietuvos Rytas Marijampolė and played in the second-tier Lithuanian league, the LKAL. A notable player for the team was teenager Darius Songaila. However, after 1996–97 season partnership ended.
At the same time Statyba faced with financial difficulties and was at the verge of bankruptcy. The team needed new investors and in 1997 Lietuvos rytas bought the club. However, new owners didn't want to continue Statyba history and started anew – the team was renamed to Statyba-Lietuvos rytas, then just 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.
First successes (1997–2004)
During its first season, Lietuvos Rytas managed to repeat Statyba's biggest achievement in LKL and won bronze. Next season was even better - Rytas won LKL silver, losing only to reigning Euroleague's champions BC Žalgiris. Team also took second place in 1997 William Jones Cup.
However, the biggest success at that time came in 2000, when Vilnius' side, led by the so-called "big three" — Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Andrius Giedraitis and Eric Elliott, also combined with youngsters Arvydas Macijauskas and Robertas Javtokas, managed to win LKL. 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 reached the Saporta Cup semifinal, where they 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.
The next season, due to the split between the FIBA and ULEB, Rytas played in the FIBA Suproleague, making to the, but losing in quarterfinals to Anadolu Efes S.K.. The team won third place in the NEBL, a step down from the previous seasons second place. In the LKL finals, Žalgiris defeated Lietuvos rytas in tough five game series 3:2.
In 2002 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..
Over the next two seasons, Lietuvos rytas lost both times in the LKL finals to Žalgiris. They had more success in Europe, though, finishing in second place in the FIBA Eurocup regional stage (though losing to KK Hemofarm in the final stage). The team also succsefully debuted in the ULEB Cup, making to the quarterfinals, but losing to Hapoel Jerusalem B.C..
Foreign coaches era (2004–2008)
2004–05 - ULEB Cup Champions
After not winning any title in the past two seasons Lietuvos Rytas decided that change was needed and started recruiting foreign coaches, first of them being Serbian Vlade Đurović. Midway through the season, team leader Frederick House suffered a season-ending injury, head coach Đurović resigned and was replaced by Slovenian Tomo Mahorič. Despite this, newcomer Tyrone Nesby, Latvian playmaker Roberts Štelmahers and an inspirational Lithuanian trio: Robertas Javtokas, Simas Jasaitis and Tomas Delininkaitis led the team to the victory of 2005 ULEB Cup, beating Pamesa Valencia in the semifinals and Makedonikos in the final. This victory granted them a place in the Euroleague, the continent's primary basketball club tournament. Lietuvos Rytas won second place in both 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, Rytas matched the Euroleague record by winning seven consecutive Euroleague fixtures, defeating such teams as Winterthur FCB, champions Maccabi (twice) and Efes Pilsen. Those wins allowed Rytas to advance to Top 16 phase, where they won three times out of six, beating Tau Ceramica once and Brose Baskets twice. However, that was not enough and Lietuvos rytas was eliminated from that year's Euroleague.
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 Finalists
Although the coach and three leading players: Robertas Javtokas, Simas Jasaitis and Fred 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 27 April 2007, Lietuvos rytas won their second consecutive BBL title, Kareem Rush was named the Final Four MVP. The LKL finals and LKF Cup finals were both unsuccessful, though, as Žalgiris won them both.
2007–08 - Back to Euroleague
Lietuvos Rytas was very successful in the regular season of 2007–08 Euroleague, beating teams like Unicaja Málaga or Armani Jeans Milano. Very notable victories were achieved against future Euroleague finalists of that season, Maccabi Tel Aviv. On 1 November, Lietuvos rytas defeated Maccabi by 18 points at home 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. The fourth victory in a row over Maccabi (away, by 5 points) was due to spectacular performances by Hollis Price (19 points) and Chuck Eidson (28 points).
A road victory against Cibona Zagreb on 31 January 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 at the time. However, the team wasn't as successful in the Top 16 and with record of 2–4 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, losing each time to Žalgiris.
Rimas Kurtinaitis era (2008–2010)
The 2008–2009 season was met by the team with a significantly reduced budget, putting a greater emphasis on young and perspective local players. Nevertheless, Lietuvos rytas managed to win the first Baltic Basketball Presidents Cup. On 21 October 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.
However, 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. Head coach Antanas Sireika resigned and was replaced by a former Lietuvos rytas' player Rimas Kurtinaitis for the second half of the season. 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. However, that was enough and Rytas successfully advanced to Final 8. Chuck Eidson was named the regular season MVP.
The Final 8 started with a victory against Benetton Treviso in quarterfinal on 2 April 2009. Two days later the team won semifinal against Hemofarm Vršac and made the third consecutive appearance 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, later, the only two-times ULEB Cup champion. Going into finals, Rytas was considered underdog against rich Russian team BC Khimki. However, terrific performances of Steponas Babrauskas (18 points) and Marijonas Petravičius (20 points) allowed the team to overcome the odds and win the final. Lietuvos rytas made an outstanding 15:0 run, having left their rivals empty for 6 straight minutes in the third and fourth quarters. Rytas became the first team to reclaim the Eurocup title, while Marijonas Petravičius became the Final 8 MVP.
Lietuvos rytas was very successful in matches against archrival Žalgiris too. Firstly, it won the 2009 LKF Cup, with Mindaugas Lukauskis scoring the game-winning three pointer with 2 seconds left. Next was the Baltic Basketball League final game - it was won by Lietuvos rytas on 25 April 2009 over Žalgiris, 97 to 74. Chuck Eidson scored 41 points and was announced the MVP. It was the third BBL title for the club, compared to Žalgiris' two. The final trophy of the season was the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL). Lietuvos rytas swept past all the teams in the playoffs and qualified to the finals. There Vilnius team confronted their rival Žalgiris Kaunas and won the series 4 to 1, the final match taking place on 18 May. 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.
After the season team leaders Marijonas Petravičius, Mindaugas Lukauskis and Chuck Eidson left the team and Lietuvos rytas acquired new perspective players to replace them. The team began their 2009-2010 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 was not successful in Euroleague—they lost the deciding game against Unicaja Málaga, took the 5th place in Group B and did not advance to the Top 16. However, their fierce battles with BC Žalgiris continued. After winning the LKF Cup by the score of 77:65, Lietuvos rytas, having problems with players injuries, suffered a loss in the BBL Finals to their rivals from Kaunas, 66 to 73. However, Lietuvos rytas took revenge and won the LKL trophy, beating Žalgiris after a thrilling series 4–3. It was the second consecutive LKL title of Vilnius' team. After the conclusion of the season, head coach Rimas Kurtinaitis left the club to be replaced by Croatian Dražen Anzulović.
Big dreams, small achievements (2010–2014)
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 stage 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 remaining part of the season was unsuccessful for the club as Lietuvos Rytas lost in the semi-final at the Baltic Basketball League and finished only in 3rd place for the first time in club history. The Coach Trifunović was replaced by assistant coach Darius Maskoliūnas. The game improved, but the team ended up losing to Žalgiris in the LKL finals, 4 games to 1.
2011–12 - Euroleague qualification finalists
After dismissing Milko Bjelica, Kenan Bajramović, 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 their first two matches against Budućnost and Cibona Zagreb, but lost the final game against Galatasaray with a score of 63:71. Because of that, Lietuvos Rytas had to play at the second-tier European competition - EuroCup. The team, led by Renaldas Seibutis, Jonas Valančiūnas and Tyrese Rice, made it to the EuroCup quarterfinal round for the fifth time in a row and defeated BC Donetsk there, but lost to Valencia Basket in the semifinals. Rytas 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 the series 2:1. 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 Žalgiris 0:3. This was the worst domestic season in team's 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 their 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 successful. It started with loss of 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 Dirk Bauermann. Rytas started to play much better then, 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.
2013–14 - Sixth Euroleague season
Due to the unsuccessful past season, the manager decided to almost completely rebuild the team: eight players left after the team lost LKL finals to the rival Žalgiris. Former team leader Martynas Gecevičius was recalled after two seasons break and a notable point guard Omar Cook was signed. Because the team was second in the domestic league, it had to hope for a Euroleague wild card. The team did not receive it, and had to participate in Euroleague's qualification tournament once again, which was held in Vilnius.
This time, Rytas, led by Renaldas Seibutis and Martynas Gecevičius, was successful: it won three games in a row (against VEF Rīga, EWE Oldenburg and Telenet Oostende), and qualified for the Euroleague. To strengthen the team roster before Euroleague games, Lietuvos rytas signed former NBA and Lithuania national team player Darius Songaila. On 18 October 2013, Lietuvos rytas started 13/14 Euroleague season with a tremendous victory against Panathinaikos Athens with the result 84–83 after Renaldas Seibutis winning shot in OT. The game was named as the Euroleague's Game of the Week and re-broadcast in over 150 countries worldwide. However, after this, the level of play for the Lithuanian team dropped significantly and Rytas was not able to win any more games. 6 games were lost by 10 points or more and it turned out to be worst Lietuvos rytas season ever in Euroleague. Following the fiasco, coach Dirk Bauermann was replaced by Croat Aleksandar Petrović. The change helped and on 22 December 2013, Rytas crushed its rival Žalgiris with the result 90–58. After being eliminated in the Eurocup playoffs by KK Crvena zvezda, Lietuvos rytas also sufered a shocking defeat in the LKF Cup finals, losing to BC Prienai 91:92, leading to the firing of coach Aleksandar Petrović, who was replaced by Dainius Adomaitis.
Despite two victories against biggest Rytas rival Žalgiris during regular season, the LKL playoffs were an disaster for Lietuvos rytas. Due to rare situation in LKL standings, Rytas and Žalgiris met in the semi-finals and not in the finals for the second time since 1998. Darius Songaila 28 points led Rytas to first series victory in Vilnius with result 90:85, however then Rytas lost to Žalgiris in Kaunas with result 57:72 and series tied at 1-1. Third crucial game was played in Vilnius, however it was not successful for the home team. Despite having 7 points lead multiple times, Rytas lost to Žalgiris with result 71:73 and did not qualified to the LKL Finals for the second time in club history, losing the series 1:2. Team captain Steponas Babrauskas described it as an tragedy, moreover one of team leaders Renaldas Seibutis injured his eye after contact with Vytenis Lipkevičius and due to required surgery missed the rest of the season. The disastrous season continued for Rytas in the VTB playoffs-after defeating BC Triumph in the first round, Rytas lost to BC Nizhny Novgorod in the semifinal round, losing a chance to play in the 2014-2015 Euroleague season. Rytas finished in 3rd place in the LKL, winning the series against BC Prienai 3:0 and winning the bronze medals-this was the team's worst season since the 1998-1999 season.
Seeking for the past glory (2014–present)
2014–15 - Return to Eurocup
After terrible LKL season last year, taking only 3rd place, Rytas lost all chances of qualifying into the Euroleague that year. He was not even invited to the qualifying tournament as before and had to return to the second-tier European league EuroCup. As a result of this, the club changed firmly. Firstly, club biggest stars Renaldas Seibutis, Omar Cook and Darius Songaila left the team. Secondly, the team played most of its games in the newly reconstructed Lietuvos rytas Arena instead of the Siemens Arena. Thirdly, Rytas withdrew from Russian VTB League. Virginijus Šeškus, a former multiple LKL bronze medalist with BC Prienai, was signed as a head coach of the team, along with his past team members Artūras Valeika and Mindaugas Lukauskis, who played six seasons in Rytas previously. Club owner Gedvydas Vainauskas shortly afterward said that enthusiastic V.Šeškus reminds him former team coach Rimas Kurtinaitis, who has lead Rytas to the biggest victories in the club history. Lithuania national team member Adas Juškevičius and former NBA player Travis Leslie were signed as well.
On 15 October 2014, Rytas powerfully started the EuroCup season by 92–65 crushing Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade. They have finished first round with 8-2 record and took first place in the group. On 16 December 2014, team roster was strengthened with addition of Kšyštof Lavrinovič, who has signed two-year deal with Rytas. Later, on 5 January 2014, another Lithuania national team member Simas Jasaitis also signed with Rytas for the third time in his career. Lietuvos Rytas started the LAST-32 stage in Eurocup by winning against the best team in Poland, Turów Zgorzelec which was relegated to Eurocup after winning only one game in Euroleague's regular season. Despite successful start, Rytas lost three games of six in the second stage and qualified into the next round by taking 2nd place in the group only after the crucial smash-up of Telenet Oostende 111–83 at the last game in Vilnius. Due to questionable shape of the team, Virginijus Šeškus was fired as head coach. Despite fired as head coach, Šeškus stayed in Rytas as an assistant of the new head coach Marcelo Nicola.
On 20–22 February, Rytas participated in 2015 LKF Cup. They defeated Dzūkija 78–63 in the quarter-finals and Šiauliai 71–61 in the semi-finals, however at the finals Rytas lost season's first trophy to principal rival Žalgiris 76–82 and extended trophies drought.
On 4 March 2015, Lietuvos rytas played first game of the Eurocup playoffs versus Pınar Karşıyaka. Despite having the double-digit lead multiple times, Rytas failed to secure it until the final seconds. The match finished with result 81–81 and the series winner was to be decided in Turkey. Despite the affirmative thoughts and the mighty moods, on 11 March, Rytas players failed to show any positive signs in the game. The deficit was already shattering after the first two quarters (34–53). The final result was 97–81, ending the two-times Eurocup champion Rytas journey in the international competitions early that year.
In LKL, Rytas started ambiguously. On 19 October 2014 they suffered first defeat against Žalgiris 82–84 in Vilnius. Although, they defeated the Euroleague participant BC Neptūnas week later. On 15 November 2014 during the game against Pieno žvaigždės second defeat happened. Furthermore, on 28 December 2014, Rytas also suffered defeat to Neptūnas 90–94 in their home arena. On 1 January 2015 Rytas failed to compete for the victory during the second game against Žalgiris in Kaunas, losing the game 77–91. Though, on 8 March 2015 Rytas shown solid positive signs under the command of the new head coach. They absolutely crushed Žalgiris in Vilnius with result 93–66 and at times the Rytas lead was even 35 points. Žalgiris assistant coach Šarūnas Jasikevičius described the game as a "shame". Following the fiasco in Eurocup, on 15 March 2015, Rytas tremendously defeated Neptūnas 87–86 for the second time in Klaipėda after the astonishing Mike Moser shot when there was only 0.6 second remaining, and firmly improved the chances of taking the first spot during the regular LKL season. On 13 April 2015, Rytas defeated Neptūnas 84–75 for the third time, reaching the 16th straight victory in LKL, and guarantying at least second spot in the regular LKL season. The winning streak ended on the final day of the regular season, with a tough 81–82 loss to Žalgiris. With the loss, Rytas entered the playoffs as the second seed team. Though, the game referees decisions left doubtful impressions, which sparked many discussions. Consequently, Rytas requested LKL to hire foreign-born referees during the semi-finals and the grand finals to completely guarantee referees impartiality. Although, their request was rejected by the majority of the LKL clubs.
Rytas began the LKL playoffs by smashing Šiauliai 3–0 in the series (97–69, 96–107 and 96–92), in spite of all their militant efforts, especially shown by the upcoming Rytas member Rokas Giedraitis. The LKL semi-finals began much more difficultly for Lietuvos rytas, overcoming Neptūnas only during the final game minutes 88–79. Though, they later lost 101–107 in Klaipėda after OT and the semi-final series tied at 1–1. Rytas successfully reached a revenge 96–89 two days later in Vilnius. Crucial game in Klaipėda began remarkably positively for Rytas, who once even had 29 points lead. Though, Neptūnas performed their last assault and almost tied the game at the end. Still it wasn't powerful enough assault as Rytas won the game by 5 points and eliminated Neptūnas 3–1, qualifying into the LKL grand-final after one-year break.
Lietuvos rytas began LKL finals with a close defeat of 66–73 to Žalgiris. Antanas Kavaliauskas dominated in the first half with total of 17 points, Kšyštof Lavrinovič did the same in the second half with 17 points as well, though the team failed to receive solid support from the team captain Martynas Gecevičius (4 points, 0/5 three-pointers) and one of the key players Gediminas Orelik (2 points, 1/6 field goals). During second game, Rytas suffered desperate defeat 62–78 in Vilnius. All-season team's leaders: Gecevičius, Kavaliauskas and Orelik together scored only 13 points. Then Žalgiris won two more games: 71–68 after OT and 77–85. Rytas was crushed 0–4 in the finals once again. Despite the victories in the regular season and 2–3 LKL semi-final result last season, their most recent victory versus Žalgiris in the LKL finals was achieved only back in 2011.
2015–16 - Second straight Eurocup season
On 5 July 2015 Lietuvos rytas president Gedvydas Vainauskas admitted that the tickets prices and the move to the 2500 seats arena during the primary games were failure and said that the club is seeking to return the lost positions in the near future. Following the agreement with the Siemens Arena, the club once again played their most important games there. The deal with the arena owners was signed till 2020. Despite all the Rytas efforts and ULEB promises to LKL, the club did not received a wild card to the tournament and had to play in the second-tier league Eurocup for a second straight season.
Rytas early began signings with the new team members. First of all, all the foreigners left the team: Billy Baron, Mike Moser, Travis Leslie. Though, Marcelo Nicola remained as the head coach of the team, despite the disastrous LKL finals. Then one of the CSU Asesoft Ploiești leaders Marius Runkauskas replaced Martynas Gecevičius. Club president later in an interview told that the contract extension with a team leader, who scores only 10 points per 4 final games, is not possible. Unlike Gecevičius, another Rytas leader Antanas Kavaliauskas signed a new three-years deal. Rytas also signed with Deividas Gailius, who was Neptūnas team leader and had a solid Euroleague season. As a result, Simas Jasaitis had to leave the team. Later Rytas surprisingly signed with Artūras Gudaitis by paying buyout, who was a member of the principal opponents Žalgiris, and was recently drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers. Team roster was also strengthened with one of the most talented young Lithuanian Rokas Giedraitis, who previously signed the four-years deal with the club. Furthermore, one of the Šiauliai leaders Julius Jucikas replaced Artūras Valeika. Seven Lietuvos rytas players were invited to the Lithuania men's national basketball team training camp. Argentina national basketball team member Nicolás Laprovíttola became Rytas roster final piece in the summer of 2015. On 19 August, first training camp was held. On 4 September, Krasta Auto (authorized BMW dealer in Lithuania) became one of the club sponsors, giving 14 brand-new cars for the club members and replacing the former vehicles sponsor Škoda. The agreement was signed for 3 years. On 23 September 2015, Kavaliauskas was chosen captain of the team.
Rytas positively began the pre-season by winning a friendly tournament in Alytus and then the Vladas Garastas Cup, where they defeated the Euroleague participant BC Khimki in the final 85–84. Rytas also started the LKL in dominating fashion.
The returning to the Siemens Arena game, which started the 2015–16 Eurocup season, ended with a vexatious 87–91 defeat to Beşiktaş J.K. The team then crushed Szolnoki Olaj KK 65–89. After a loss to BC Žalgiris 70:79, the problems began. After shocking losses to BC Avtodor Saratov 81:97 and BC Zenit Saint Petersburg 65:70 at home in the Eurocup, the team was even booed of the court. Rytas also lost to PAOK B.C. 76:81, and rumors started off about conflicts between coach Nicola and the team. Due to the hopeless shape of the team, Marcelo Nicola was fired, with rumors that he will be replaced by Tomas Pačėsas. Under current coach Aurimas Jasilionis, however, the team played the best match in the season - a thrilling 103–92 win over Beşiktaş J.K in Istanbul. A few days later, despite improved play, Rytas lost to BC Žalgiris again - 68–82 - in the Siemens Arena. The poor form of the team was quickly recalled when Rytas lost another Eurocup home game, this time to the Szolnoki Olaj KK 98–99. Another disastrous performance happened in Saratov - Rytas lost to BC Avtodor Saratov 92:109, with only minimal hope for qualification for the LAST-32 stage in the Eurocup. After the loss, coach Jasilionis was replaced by longtime assistant coach Arvydas Gronskis. After another loss, this time to BC Zenit Saint Petersburg 84–92, Rytas lost all hope to qualify to the LAST-32 stage. In the final game, Rytas lost to PAOK B.C. 81:88 at home, finishing with a 2-8 record. After the Eurocup fiasco, coach Gronskis was sent to the reserve team Perlas Vilnius again, and Tomas Pačėsas became the new head coach of the team. The team, under a firm arm of Pačėsas, finished the year with a three straight victories. On 31 December 2015, Nicolás Laprovíttola left the team. On 10 January, Julius Jucikas was traded to Dzūkija Alytus for Adam Lapeta. On 17 January, Rytas achieved the season's first victory versus Žalgiris 78–72.
De facto BC Lietuvos rytas anthem
De facto BC Lietuvos rytas club anthem
|Problems playing this file? See media help.|
Marijonas Mikutavičius, the creator of de facto Lithuania Olympics Team song – Trys Milijonai, also created a special song to the BC Lietuvos rytas team, following its success in LKL and the very first steps in the prestigious Euroleague. The song is called "Laikas būti pirmiems" (English: Time To Be First) and is widely regarded as the club's anthem. To this day it is still played after the successful club's games or just at the time-outs during the home games.
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
Lietuvos rytas roster
|Pos.||Starting 5||Bench 1||Bench 2||Bench 3|
|C||Antanas Kavaliauskas||Artūras Gudaitis||Adam Lapeta|
|PF||Gediminas Orelik||Kšyštof Lavrinovič|
|SF||Deividas Gailius||Rokas Giedraitis|
|SG||Marius Runkauskas||Adas Juškevičius||Mindaugas Lukauskis|
|PG||Kendrick Brown||Žygimantas Janavičius|
Squad changes for/during the 2015/16 season
Note: exact date is listed for players who joined or left during season.
Out on loan
Total titles: 14
- Lithuanian Championship
- Winners (5): 2000, 2002, 2006, 2009, 2010
- Lithuanian Cup
- Winners (3): 1998, 2009, 2010
- ULEB Eurocup
- Small Triple Crown (unofficial)
- Winners (1): 2009
- North European Basketball League
- Winners (1): 2002
- Runners-up (1): 2000
- Baltic Basketball League
- Winners (3): 2006, 2007, 2009
- 1 BBL Presidents Cup: 2008
Season by season
Team records in LKL
|Points||134||Alytus||134:76||26 October 2008||Lietuvos rytas Arena|
|Rebounds||54||Aukštaitija||52:98||11 October 2003|
|Assists||37||Prienai TonyBet||102:65||11 June 2014||Siemens Arena|
|Steals||25||Nevėžis||92:40||11 October 2009||Lietuvos rytas Arena|
|Blocks||9||Olimpas||81:91||30 October 1997|
|2-pointers made||43||Sakalai||112:67||9 March 2008||Lietuvos rytas Arena|
|2-pointers %||86.67 %||Neptūnas||132:80||14 February 2003|
|3-pointers made||19||Juventus||108:61||19 April 2010||Lietuvos rytas Arena|
|3-pointers %||78.57%||Sakalai||73:91||17 September 1999|
|Free throws made||37||Alita||110:102||5 March 1998|
|Free throws %||100 %||Prienai||59:84||8 February 2015||Prienai Arena|
- Last updated: 2015-05-20.
Important people and venues
|1997–1998||Ekinsta Sports Hall||1,000|
|1998–2004||Lietuvos rytas Sports Arena
|At first capacity of 2000, later expanded to 3500.|
|2004–present||Siemens Arena||11,000||Used for all Euroleague/Eurocup/VTB games and some LKL games|
|2004–present||Lietuvos rytas Arena||1,700
|At first capacity of 1700, later expanded to 2500
Used for most LKL games and practices.
In Lietuvos rytas
To appear in this section a player must be either:
- A player who has played at least 3 seasons (if foreign player) or 4 seasons (if Lithuanian player) for the club.
- A player who has won individual award.
- A Lithuanian player who has played for the Lithuanian national basketball team.
- A foreign international player who had significant impact (was a leader) in the club.
The following head coaches won at least one major trophy when in charge of Rytas:
|Alfredas Vainauskas||1997–2001||LKF Cup|
|Šarūnas Sakalauskas||1998–2001||Lithuanian Basketball League|
|Jonas Kazlauskas||2001–2004||Lithuanian Basketball League, North European Basketball League|
|Tomo Mahorić||2005||ULEB Cup|
|Neven Spahija||2005–2006||Lithuanian Basketball League, Baltic Basketball League|
|Baltic Basketball League|
|Rimas Kurtinaitis||2008–2010||2 Lithuanian Basketball Leagues, 2 LKF Cups, Baltic Basketball League, ULEB Eurocup|
Best Eurocup Coach of All Time
Lithuanian Basketball League
Baltic Basketball League
Final Four MVP
Matches against NBA teams
21 October 2008
|Golden State Warriors||126–106||Lietuvos rytas Vilnius|
Sponsorships and partners
As of January 2014:
- Statyba history, bcstatyba.lt (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos rytas Euroleague page, euroleague.net, accessed 31 December 2010. (English)
- Jonas Vainauskas about beginnings of Lietuvos rytas, krepsinis.net (Lithuanian)
- Javtokas injured, delfi.lt (Lithuanian)
- Fred House about his injury, eurocupbasketball.com, (English)
- Lietuvos Rytas - Golden State Warriors game at Oracle Arena, ESPN (English)
- Nielsen leaves Lietuvos Rytas, basketnews.lt (Lithuanian)
- Lukauskis three-pointer won the cup for Rytas, basketnews.lt (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas wins 2009 BBL, lrytas.lt (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas has problems with players injuries, sportas.info (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas adds floor general Cook, euroleague.net (English)
- 2013 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds, euroleague.net (English)
- LIETUVOS RYTAS adds veteran forward Songaila, Euroleague.net (English)
- Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius vs. Panathinaikos Athens, Euroleague.net (English)
- Play of the Night: Renaldas Seibutis, Lietuvos Rytas (video) (English)
- Euroleague named Lietuvos rytas and Panathinaikos game as the game of the week, lrytas.lt (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas hires Petrović, basketnews.lt (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas beats Žalgiris, delfi.lt (Lithuanian)
- D.Songailos šou priartino „Lietuvos rytą“ prie LKL finalo (Lithuanian)
- „Žalgiris“ atstatė lygybę LKL pusfinalyje (5 video, foto, komentarai, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Po įspūdingos kovos „Žalgiris“ žengė į LKL finalą (6 video, foto, komentarai, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Babrauskas: „Tai yra tragedija“ (Lithuanian)
- Seibučiui sezonas veikiausiai baigtas – jo laukia akies operacija (Lithuanian)
- Virginijus Šeškus tapo biudžetą mažinančio „Lietuvos ryto“ treneriu (Lithuanian)
- Ant bangos: „Lietuvos rytas“ galingai startavo Europos taurėje (video, foto, komentarai, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Kšištofas jau Vilniuje: „Man patinka Šeškaus stilius – greitas krepšinis“ (foto) (Lithuanian)
- Jasaitis papildė „Lietuvos ryto“ komandą (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius vs. PGE Turow Zgorzelec - Game - Welcome to Eurocup (English)
- Net ir po svarbios pergalės V. Šeškus neišsaugojo darbo „Lietuvos ryto“ klube (Lithuanian)
- Šeškų „Lietuvos ryte“ pakeis Motiejūną treniravęs argentinietis (Lithuanian)
- V.Šeškus lieka „Lietuvos ryto" trenerių štabe (Lithuanian)
- „Žalgiris“ susigrąžino LKF taurę (2 video, foto, komentarai, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- „Lietuvos rytui“ aštuntfinalyje su turkais nepavyko įgyti nė taško persvaros (Lithuanian)
- „Lietuvos rytas“ sudegė Izmiro pragare (statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos rytas - Žalgiris (2014-10-19) (Lithuanian)
- Neptūnas - Lietuvos rytas (2014-10-26) (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos rytas - Pieno žvaigždės (2014-11-15) (Lithuanian)
- Lietuvos rytas - Neptūnas (2014-12-28) (Lithuanian)
- Žalgiris - Lietuvos rytas (2015-01-12) (Lithuanian)
- Puikiai krepšį atakavęs „Lietuvos rytas“ nepaliko vilčių „Žalgiriui“ (foto, komentaras, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Įspūdingo trilerio pabaigoje Moserio dvitaškis parklupdė „Neptūną“ (2 video, foto, komentarai, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Pasipriešinimo iš „Neptūno“ mačo pabaigoje sulaukęs „Lietuvos rytas“ laimėjo 16-ą kartą paeiliui (video, foto, komentarai, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Andersono dvitaškis dramatiškai padovanojo „Žalgiriui“ reguliariojo sezono nugalėtojų vardą (4 video, foto, komentarai, statistika) (Lithuanian)
- Krukauskas, Modestas. "Nepasitikėjimas: LKL finalams prašoma kviesti užsienio arbitrus". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- ""Lietuvos ryto" planas neišdegė – LKL finaluose dirbs lietuviai teisėjai". Krepsinis.net. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- ""Lietuvos rytas" po ilgosios pertraukos nokautavo "Šiaulius" (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
- ""Lietuvos rytas" po pertraukos ir vėl pabėgo nuo "Šiaulių" (video, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Mačo pabaigoje šiauliečių šturmą atlaikęs "Lietuvos rytas" tiesiausiu keliu žengė į LKL pusfinalį (komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
- "Vienas "Šiaulių" lyderių Rokas Giedraitis po sezono persikels į "Lietuvos rytą"". 15min.lt. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- Vyšniauskas, Rytis. ""Lietuvos rytas" po atkaklios įveikė "Neptūną" ir pusfinalį pradėjo pergale (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 14 May 2015.
- "LKL pusfinalyje "Neptūnas" įveikė "Lietuvos rytą" ir išlygino serijos rezultatą". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
- "LKL pusfinalio kare "Lietuvos rytas" prieš "Neptūną" laimėjo antrą mūšį". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- "29 taškų persvarą išbarstęs "Lietuvos rytas" vos atsilaikė Klaipėdoje". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
- "Kovoje dėl kamuolių dominavęs "Žalgiris" įveikė "Lietuvos rytą" (3 video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "Žalgiris - Lietuvos rytas (2015-05-28)". LKL.lt. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- ""Žalgiris" parodė savo jėgą ir Vilniuje – LKL finalo serijoje jau 2:0". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- "Pratęsime triumfavęs "Žalgiris" – per žingsnį nuo LKL aukso žiedų (3 video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 3 June 2015.
- "Nenugalimieji: Kauno "Žalgiris" penktus metus iš eilės triumfavo LKL čempionate". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
- Kavaliauskas, Antanas. "Antanas Kavaliauskas on Twitter: "Loyalty..."". Twitter.com. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Urbonas, Donatas. "Žalgirio" pasiūlymą atmetęs Antanas Kavaliauskas: kas slypi už jo žinutės "Loyalty"". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Aleksiūnas, Tomas. "G. Vainauskas – apie "Lietuvos ryto" sezoną, Eurolygą ir kainas". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 5 July 2015.
- ""Lietuvos rytas" grįžta į "Siemens" areną". Krepsinis.net. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- ""Lietuvos rytas" pasirašė ilgalaikę sutartį su "Siemens" arena". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 6 August 2015.
- "Milašius nusivylęs Eurolyga: "LKL buvo žadėtas vardinis kvietimas"". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 7 May 2015.
- ""Lietuvos rytas" Eurolygos malonės nesulaukė". Krepsinis.net. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- "M. Nicola lieka prie "Lietuvos ryto" vairo". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- ""Lietuvos rytas" sukirto rankomis su Runkausku ir neigia gandus apie kardinalias permainas klube". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- Aleksiūnas, Tomas. "G. Vainauskas – apie sutartis, A. Gudaitį ir juodąjį periodą". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Augustis, Mindaugas. ""Lietuvos ryto" lyderiui – nauja trejų metų sutartis". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
- "Deividas Gailius keliasi į Vilniaus "Lietuvos rytą"". 15min.lt. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
- "Staigmena: Artūras Gudaitis keliasi į Vilniaus "Lietuvos rytą"". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 2 July 2015.
- "Vienas "Šiaulių" lyderių Rokas Giedraitis po sezono persikels į "Lietuvos rytą"". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
- "Jucikas pasirašė sutartį su "Lietuvos rytu"". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "J. Kazlausko sprendimas: paaiškėjo, kurie krepšininkai ruošis Europos čempionatui". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
- Suslavičius, Martynas. "M. Nicola apie naują įžaidėją: "Turėtų tapti vienu iš lyderių"". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
- Augustis, Mindaugas. "Antrą sezoną "Lietuvos ryte" pradedantis M. Nicola: dabar situacija man – daug palankesnė". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- Bagdonas, Marius. "Pasirengimą pradėjusio "Lietuvos ryto" treneris Marcelo Nicola: "Šį sezoną mūsų tikslas – laimėti"". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- Pulkovskis, Edgaras. "K.Lavrinovičius paaiškino, kodėl Darjušas atmetė "Žalgirio" pasiūlymą". Krepsinis.net. Retrieved 19 August 2015.
- Sarapas, Jaunius. "Į BMW persėdę "Lietuvos ryto" žaidėjai ieškos auksinio kelio". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- ""Lietuvos ryto" krepšininkams - nauji BMW automobiliai". YouTube.com. Retrieved 4 September 2015.
- "Vilniaus "Lietuvos rytas" turi naują kapitoną". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 23 September 2015.
- ""Neptūną" patiesęs "Lietuvos rytas" laimėjo turnyrą Alytuje". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "Nepralaiminčiam Vilniaus "Lietuvos rytui" – V. Garasto taurė". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- "Liūdnas sugrįžimas į "Siemens" areną: mačo pradžią pramiegojęs "Lietuvos rytas" krito prieš "Bešiktaš"". 24sek.lt. Retrieved 14 October 2015.
- Pulkovskis, Edgaras. ""Lietuvos rytas" atleido M.Nicolą, jį pakeis T.Pačėsas". Krepsinis.net. Retrieved 16 November 2015.
- Butkauskas, Laurynas. "T. Pačėso taisyklės: kaip auklėjama komanda". Krepšinis.lt. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- "Legionierius palieka "Lietuvos rytą", ieškoma naujo krepšininko". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
- "Po žaidėjų mainų "Lietuvos ryte" – aukštaūgis legionierius". lrytas.lt. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
- "T. Pačėso įkvėptas "Lietuvos rytas" nutraukė pralaimėjimų seriją "Žalgiriui"". Krepsinis.lt. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- "Komandų statistika". LKL.lt. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
- Rimas Kurtinaitis chosen as best Eurocup coach of all time, eurocupbasketball.com (English)
- „NBA 2K15“ žaidime – „Žalgiris“, „Lietuvos rytas“ ir daugybė lietuvių (Lithuanian)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to BC Lietuvos Rytas.|
- Official website (Lithuanian) (English)
- BC Lietuvos rytas at Euroleague.net (English)
- BC Lietuvos rytas at LKL.lt (Lithuanian)
- BC Lietuvos rytas at VTB-League.com (English) (Russian)
- Lietuvos rytas players stats (1997-2008) (Lithuanian)