BC Rytas

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Rytas Vilnius
Rytas Vilnius logo
Nickname Vilniečiai (Vilnians)
Black-White-Reds
Leagues Lithuanian Basketball League
EuroCup
Founded 1963 (as Statyba) [1]
1997 (as BC Lietuvos rytas)
History Statyba
1963–1997
Statyba-Lietuvos rytas
1997–1998
BC Lietuvos rytas
1998–2018
BC Rytas
2018–present
Arena Siemens Arena
Lietuvos rytas Arena
Capacity 11,000 (Siemens Arena)
2,500 (Lietuvos rytas Arena)
Location Vilnius, Lithuania
Team colors Black, white, red
              
Team manager Darius Gudelis
Head coach Dainius Adomaitis
Ownership Darius Gudelis (main), Vilnius City Municipality, Linas Kleiza, Perlas and Norvelita[2]
Affiliation(s) BC Perlas (NKL)
Lietuvos rytas-2 (RKL)
Championships 2 EuroCup
5 Lithuanian Championships
3 LKF Cup
1 King Mindaugas Cup
1 North European League
3 Baltic Championships
1 Baltic Presidents Cup
6 Lithuanian SSR League
5 Lithuanian SSR "Sports" Cup
2 USSR A class League
Website Official website Edit this at Wikidata
Uniforms

BC Rytas, formerly known as Lietuvos 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.

Some of the greatest Lithuanian basketball players have played for Rytas over the years including: Šarūnas Marčiulionis, 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.

Rytas plays in the EuroCup, Lithuanian Basketball League, and King Mindaugas Cup.

They also have a farm club Perlas, which is used for the development of young players and plays in the second-tier NKL.

Contents

History[edit]

Origins (1963–1997)[edit]

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.[3]

Jonas Kazlauskas, Rimas Girskis, and then head coach Rimantas Endrijaitis led Statyba to a third place in the 1979 Soviet Union Championship.[4] 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.[5]

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 did not 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)[edit]

Lithuanian star Šarūnas Jasikevičius started his career in Lietuvos rytas.
Alfredas Vainauskas, coach of the team 1997–2001.
Lietuvos rytas was one of the first professional clubs for Robertas Javtokas.

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 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.[6] 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.

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 debuted in the ULEB Cup, making to the quarterfinals, but losing to Hapoel Jerusalem.

Foreign coaches era (2004–2008)[edit]

Lietuvos rytas and Siemens arenas, opened 2004
Neven Spahija, coach for the 2005–06 season
Kareem Rush, leader for the second half of 2006–07 season
The Lietuvos rytas' lineup in 2007

2004–05: ULEB Cup Champions[edit]

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,[7] 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, losing handily to Žalgiris.

2005–06: EuroLeague debut[edit]

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 EuroLeague that was reserved to the archrival Žalgiris.

2006–07: ULEB Cup finalists[edit]

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 2006–07 EuroLeague 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[edit]

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 was not 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)[edit]

LKL trophy in Vilnius
Chuck Eidson, the leader of the team for the 2008–09 season

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 National Basketball Association basketball club Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena. Lietuvos rytas lost that game with result 106–126.[8]

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 [9] 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 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-time EuroCup 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.[10] Next was the Baltic Basketball League final game - it was won by Lietuvos rytas on 25 April 2009 over Žalgiris, 97–74. Chuck Eidson scored 41 points and was announced the MVP.[11] 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 4–1, 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 2009–10 season with a dramatic loss to their rivals BC Žalgiris 78–83 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 94–90.

Lietuvos rytas was not as successful in 2009–10 EuroLeague as before – 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,[12] suffered a loss in the BBL Finals to their rivals from Kaunas, 66–73. 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)[edit]

2010–11: Fourth EuroLeague season[edit]

Martynas Gecevičius was the team leader for the 2010–11 season.

The 2010–11 EuroLeague 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 team's overall record 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[edit]

Renaldas Seibutis became the new team leader in the 2011–12 season

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 not 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 Donetsk there, but lost to Valencia Basket in the semifinals. Rytas finished third after a 71–62 win against Spartak St. Petersburg.

Jonas Valančiūnas spent his first seasons in Lietuvos rytas's system

Lietuvos rytas finished third 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 third places in international competitions, Rytas lost the LKL final series 0–3 to Žalgiris. This was the worst domestic season in team's history - Rytas lost all six of its matches (five in LKL and one 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[edit]

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 Žalgiris Kaunas. 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 did not 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 Žalgiris Kaunas (first one in almost 2 years). Rytas made the LKL finals for the 15th time in a row. However, Žalgiris Kaunas easily swept Lietuvos rytas 4–0 in the final.

2013–14: Sixth EuroLeague season[edit]

Rytas became the first club in Lithuania for veteran Darius Songaila

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.[13] 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.

Notable point guard Omar Cook was signed for the 2013–14 season

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.[14] To strengthen the team roster before EuroLeague games, Lietuvos rytas signed former NBA and Lithuania national team player Darius Songaila.[15] On 18 October 2013, Lietuvos rytas started the 2013–14 EuroLeague season with an 84–83 victory against Panathinaikos Athens[16] after Renaldas Seibutis's winning shot in overtime.[17] The game was named as the EuroLeague's Game of the Week and re-broadcast in over 150 countries worldwide.[18] 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.[19] The change helped and on 22 December 2013, Rytas crushed its rival Žalgiris with the result 90–58.[20] After being eliminated in the EuroCup playoffs by KK Crvena zvezda, Lietuvos rytas also suffered 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.

Juan Palacios was one of the team leaders in the 2013–14 season.

Despite two victories against biggest Rytas rival Žalgiris Kaunas 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,[21] however then Rytas lost to Žalgiris in Kaunas with result 57–72 and series tied at 1–1.[22] 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 71–73 to Žalgiris and did not qualify to the LKL Finals for the second time in club history, losing the series 1–2.[23] Team captain Steponas Babrauskas described it as an tragedy,[24] 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.[25] The disastrous season continued for Rytas in the VTB playoffs-after defeating Triumph Lyubertsy in the first round, Rytas lost to Nizhny Novgorod in the semifinal round, losing a chance to play in the 2014–15 EuroLeague season. Rytas finished in 3rd place in the LKL, winning the series against BC Prienai 30 and winning the bronze medals-this was the team's worst season since the 1998–99 season.

Tough years in EuroCup and LKL (2014–2017)[edit]

2014–15: Return to EuroCup[edit]

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 led Rytas to the biggest victories in the club history.[26] Lithuania national team member Adas Juškevičius and former NBA player Travis Leslie were signed as well.

Lithuania national team member Adas Juškevičius joined Rytas in 2014

On 15 October 2014, Rytas powerfully started the EuroCup season by 92–65 crushing Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade.[27] 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.[28] Later, on 5 January 2014, another Lithuania national team member Simas Jasaitis also signed with Rytas for the third time in his career.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] Despite fired as head coach, Šeškus stayed in Rytas as an assistant of the new head coach Marcelo Nicola.[32][33]

Between 20 and 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.[34]

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.[35] 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.[36]

Antanas Kavaliauskas, one of the primary Rytas players in the 2014–15 season

In LKL, Rytas started ambiguously. On 19 October 2014 they suffered first defeat against Žalgiris 82–84 in Vilnius.[37] Although, they defeated the EuroLeague participant BC Neptūnas week later.[38] On 15 November 2014 during the game against Pieno žvaigždės second defeat happened.[39] Furthermore, on 28 December 2014, Rytas also suffered defeat to Neptūnas 90–94 in their home arena.[40] On 1 January 2015 Rytas failed to compete for the victory during the second game against Žalgiris in Kaunas, losing the game 77–91.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43] 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.[44] The winning streak ended on the final day of the regular season, with a tough 81–82 loss to Žalgiris.[45] 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.[46] Although, their request was rejected by the majority of the LKL clubs.[47]

Rytas played LKL finals in their 2,500 seat arena for the first time in the club's history.

Rytas began the LKL playoffs by smashing Šiauliai 3–0 in the series (97–69,[48] 96–107[49] and 96–92),[50] in spite of all their militant efforts, especially shown by the upcoming Rytas member Rokas Giedraitis.[51] The LKL semi-finals began much more difficultly for Lietuvos rytas, overcoming Neptūnas only during the final game minutes 88–79.[52] Though, they later lost 101–107 in Klaipėda after OT and the semi-final series tied at 1–1.[53] Rytas successfully reached a revenge 96–89 two days later in Vilnius.[54] 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 was not 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.[55]

Lietuvos rytas began LKL finals with a close defeat of 66–73 to Žalgiris.[56] 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).[57] 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.[58] Then Žalgiris won two more games: 71–68 after OT and 77–85.[59][60] 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[edit]

"I don't know how they got this information, but they tried to lure me. <...> Vilnius. Family. Challenge. Beloved team. BC Lietuvos rytas had more levers at his side."

Antanas Kavaliauskas, describing his "Loyalty..." message in Twitter, which he wrote after rejecting the identical contract from the LKL champions Žalgiris Kaunas that competed in EuroLeague.[61][62]

On 5 July 2015 Lietuvos rytas president Gedvydas Vainauskas admitted that the tickets prices and the move to the 2,500 seat arena during the primary games were a failure and said that the club was seeking to return the lost positions in the near future.[63] Following the agreement with the Siemens Arena, the club once again played their most important games there.[64] The deal with the arena owners was signed till 2020.[65] Despite all the Rytas efforts and Euroleague Basketball Company 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.[66][67]

Marcelo Nicola remained as the head coach of the team, but was fired in the middle of November due to the shockingly poor results.

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.[68] Then one of the CSU Asesoft Ploiești leaders Marius Runkauskas replaced Martynas Gecevičius.[69] 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.[70] Unlike Gecevičius, another Rytas leader Antanas Kavaliauskas signed a new three-years deal.[71] Rytas also signed with Deividas Gailius, who was Neptūnas team leader and had a solid EuroLeague season.[72] 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.[73] Team roster was also strengthened with one of the most talented young Lithuanians, Rokas Giedraitis, who had signed a four-year deal with the club.[74] Furthermore, one of the Šiauliai leaders Julius Jucikas replaced Artūras Valeika.[75] Seven Lietuvos rytas players were invited to the Lithuania men's national basketball team training camp.[76] Argentina national basketball team member Nicolás Laprovíttola became Rytas roster final piece in the summer of 2015.[77] On 19 August, first training camp was held.[78][79][80] 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 vehicle's sponsor Škoda.[81][82] The agreement was signed for 3 years. On 23 September 2015, Kavaliauskas was chosen captain of the team.[83]

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.[84][85] Rytas also started the LKL in dominating fashion.

Nicolás Laprovíttola was the team's only foreign player in the EuroCup
Under the command of the new coach Tomas Pačėsas, Rytas won first major trophy per 6 years.

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.[86] 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 P.A.O.K. BC 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.[87] Under 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 68–82 to BC Žalgiris 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 P.A.O.K. BC 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.[88] On 31 December 2015, Nicolás Laprovíttola left the team.[89] On 10 January, Julius Jucikas was traded to Dzūkija Alytus for Adam Łapeta.[90] On 17 January, Rytas achieved the season's first victory versus Žalgiris 78–72.[91] On 19–21 February, Rytas competed in the newly formed Karaliaus Mindaugo taurė tournament. After defeating Lietkabelis Panevėžys in the quarter-final 88–82, Neptūnas Klaipėda in the semi-final 79–97 and Žalgiris Kaunas in the final 57–67, the team won their first trophy following a five seasons drought.[92] Antanas Kavaliauskas was named MVP.[93] On March 29, Rytas signed a three-years contract with the Euroleague Basketball Company in order to compete in its organized tournaments.[94]

The rest of the season, however, was a complete fiasco. After losing to Žalgiris in the final regular season game, Rytas had difficulty in a victorious sweep against Lietkabelis Panevėžys in the quarterfinal stage. In the semifinals, the problems became clear when in the first match at Siemens Arena, Rytas lost to Neptūnas 71–83.[95] After a loss at Klaipėda 68–70, Rytas was down 0–2, though managed to win the next two games 66–64 and 74–73, setting a deciding fifth game at the Siemens Arena.[96][97][98] Rytas lost 72–73 and lost the series 2–3, suffering the biggest fiasco in club history.[99] This was also the first time that Rytas was eliminated in the LKL by another team, instead of Žalgiris. The disappointing season ending was finished by winning LKL bronze medals series 3–0 versus the Juventus Utena.[100]

2016–17: Third straight EuroCup season[edit]

A scene from the LKL season opening game versus Nevėžis Kėdainiai.
Rimas Kurtinaitis returned to BC Lietuvos rytas in 2017

The signings of the new season began by contract extensions with Artūras Jomantas and Artūras Gudaitis, who decided to stay in the club.[101][102] Following it, Rytas signed David Logan, who had been an EuroLeague star under the command of Tomas Pačėsas.[103] On July 23, the front line was strengthened by athletic Kenny Kadji.[104] On July 27, Adam Łapeta signed a new two-year contract.[105] During the summer, team captain Kavaliauskas reportedly had disputes with the team management concerning pay. Soon it was announced that Kavaliauskas would probably not return for the next season, leading to Kavaliauskas deleting the infamous "Loyalty.." message he wrote about Lietuvos rytas last summer. In August, in a move that shocked fans from both teams alike, Kavaliauskas left the team and signed with Žalgiris Kaunas.[106] On August 30, Drew Gordon was signed.[107] On October 1, Rashaun Broadus signed a trial deal.[108] On October 2, Kadji was released after failing to adapt to the team and playing just three games.[109] On November 22, one of the Nigerian national team leaders Josh Akognon was signed as primary point guard.[110] On December 9, Broadus was fired.[111] On December 28, Clevin Hannah joined the team, along with Laimonas Kisielius.[112] On January 21, Akognon left the team.[113] Lietuvos rytas qualified to the EuroCup Top 16 phase with a 3–5 record, in large part due to incredible efforts from Drew Gordon, David Logan and the rising Artūras Gudaitis. Many troubles started before the start of the top 16, as Gudaitis and Gailius suffered injuries. Rytas lost a very close game to Hapoel Jerusalem at the start in Vilnius, losing 76–80 in a game Rytas led by as much as 20 points, with the fans and coaching staff blaming the referees after the game. In the second round, Rytas lost to BC Zenit Saint Petersburg 79–88 in an away game, though fought hard and erased a bigger deficit before the end. In the next two weeks, Rytas faced BC Nizhny Novgorod, blowing out their opponents both times – 97–63 away, and 99–73 at home, with chances to reach the playoffs returning. After a tough game, and a loss, to Hapoel in Jerusalem 77–84, Rytas faced Zenit at home – David Logan scored 28 points in the deciding game, with Rytas winning 86–84, but just narrowly missing the playoffs, as Zenit won the first game by 9 points. After the failure to progress into the EuroCup Playoffs club announced addition of guard Jimmy Baron from local rivals Neptūnas.[114][115] On February 10, Tomas Pačėsas decided to leave the club and was replaced by Rimas Kurtinaitis, who coached Rytas to most of its titles previously.[116] The coaching change, however, did not save Rytas from one of the most shocking losses in the season – in the first round of the King Mindaugas Cup, Rytas, the defending champion, lost to Juventus Utena 84–87. The loss also became the last game of David Logan, who after weeks of rumors left to sign with Sidigas Avellino. On 25 February, club signed a contract with forward Taylor Brown from the Polish Basketball League.[117] In the LKL, with coach Pačėsas, the team fell to third place for much of the season, only getting second place by the last weeks in the regular season under coach Kurtinaitis. Rytas split the season series with new rivals Neptūnas Klaipėda, and with the rising Lietkabelis Panevėžys team. Against BC Žalgiris, however, this was not the case, Lietuvos rytas were swept in the season series 0–4. In the LKL playoffs, Rytas faced, and swept BC Pieno žvaigždės in the quarterfinals 3–0. In the semifinal, Rytas faced Lietkabelis – in the regular season, both teams won at home, and fought for the second place and home court advantage, which Rytas won at the last game in Vilnius 92-60. Considered a fovorite, Rytas won the first game 96–85 in Vilnius, a game with many conflicts between both teams, in particular Drew Gordon and Lietkabelis forward Žygimantas Skučas.[118][119] In the second game, Rytas lost in Panevėžys 73–90.[120] With the series tied at 1–1, Rytas was the favorite heading in the third game in Vilnius - Lietkabelis had never won in Vilnius before. However, a shock happened – Rytas lost 73–81, and was down 1–2 in the series.[121] Heading to Panevėžys, internal teams arose with the team in regards with discipline violations by Taylor Brown, Corey Fisher and Clevin Hannah, though no actions were taken by the team until after the series - the three players, along with Drew Gordon, were suspended for the rest of the season.[122][123] All of them were denying the fact but the incontestable pictures were published, which shattered all the doubts.[124] In Panevėžys, Rytas lost 77–86 and lost the series 1–3.[125] This fiasco also meant that Rytas did not qualify for the LKL finals for the second time in a row - first time in history this has happened. In the bronze medal series, Rytas faced BC Neptūnas, who was now considered the favorite due to problems internally in Rytas. Rytas started the series with a 79–60 win in Vilnius, to shut up all critics.[126] After losing in Klaipėda 70–83, Rytas won the third game in Vilnius 71–54, again taking a series lead.[127][128] The last two games were thrillers - led by Chris Lofton, Neptūnas tied the series in Klaipėda at 2–2 apiece with a 70–65 win, leading to a decisive Game 5 in the next few days.[129] Led by Gailius and Baron, former Neptūnas players who hit many clutch baskets in the deciding minutes, Rytas won the game 74–66 and the series 3–2, ending the season with a bit more positive note and avenging the 2016 loss to Neptūnas.[130] The season ended with international scandal for the team, however, as club president Gedvydas Vainauskas made a controversial statement about black players of the team who severely behaved unprofessionally (saying no more than 2 players should play in the team and that more are like a gang), drawing negative attention to the team all over the world.[131][132][133][134][135]

New owners era (2017–present)[edit]

In 2017, Antanas Guoga bought major stake of the club.

On June 19, 2017, famous poker player, businessman and European Parliament member Antanas Guoga bought major stake of the club (2/4) from Sigitas Židonis and Remigijus Kazilionis.[136][137][138] Two remaining stake owners Darius Gudelis and Vilnius City Municipality retained their rights to the club (1/4 each).[139] On June 20, 2017, Gedvydas Vainauskas resigned from the Rytas president post following 20 years of operation since the founding of the club in 1997, just a week after receiving award from LKL president Remigijus Milašius for merits to basketball.[140][141] Shortly after becoming new owner of the club, Guoga sparked discussions about changing the club's name and invited the public to offer their ideas since the team no longer have connections with the Vainauskas' newspaper Lietuvos rytas.[142] The idea was strictly criticised by the club's elite fans group B Tribūna (Rytas Ultras), who told that the only team they will support is black-white-red Rytas.[143][144] On June 21, 2017, the new owners organized a meeting, during which first changes were made: public institution Krepšinio rytas was renamed to Statyba in order to remember the historical BC Statyba, Darius Gudelis replaced Martynas Purlys in the club's director position and it was decided that the club's name Lietuvos rytas will be changed in not longer than 1-year term with the most likely but not yet final choice being Rytas.[145][146] Guoga also told media that it is very likely that at least two Lithuanian basketball stars will participate in the team activities, bearing in mind Jonas Valančiūnas, Linas Kleiza and Arvydas Macijauskas.[147] On July 4, 2017, Gudelis announced that former assistant coach Alberto Blanco and Linas Kleiza are joining the club, whose first task will be assisting Rimas Kurtinaitis to bring together new roster of the team.[148] On July 13, 2017, press conference was held during which it was announced that Kleiza also became shareholder of the club by receiving part of the Guoga's stake, was named vice-president of the club and will also act as sports director.[149][150][151] Limited liability company Norvelita and Perlas also became shareholders of the club.[152]

Despite positive changes around the club, rifts between the new owners started to emerge after club announced sponsorship agreement with Lithuanian business consortium MG Baltic.[153] Club's president Antanas Guoga condemned this partnership and demanded both - annulment of it and resignation of CEO Darius Gudelis.[154] Despite that other shareholders decided against such actions and openly questioned Guoga's financial commitment to the club.[155] Finally on 24 October 2017 club announced that Guoga sold his share in the club to Gudelis and wrote off €300,000 that he had previously loaned for the club.[156] On October 9, 2018, however, it was revealed Guoga was still the team's president.

2017–18: Fourth straight EuroCup season[edit]

BC Lietuvos rytas symbol Mindaugas Lukauskis returned to the team for his 9th season and helped his long-term team to return to the Lithuanian League finals. He was the oldest player in the league.

On June 14, 2017, it was announced that Rytas received a wild card to the 2017–18 EuroCup season.[157] On June 17, 2017, Rytas quickly signed with first addition to the club for the upcoming season - former Lietkabelis leader Ben Madgen.[158] Rimas Kurtinaitis also remained on as head coach.[159] On July 11, 2017, famous Lithuanian masseur Juozas Petkevičius returned to the team.[160] After launching ticket sales for the upcoming season, the team has sold 1,800 season tickets in less than 24 hours.[161] On July 19, 2017, Rytas signed veteran Mindaugas Lukauskis for his 9th season as the club member.[162] On the following day, Travis Peterson was signed and Kurtinaitis also confirmed that the team has reached an agreement with Chris Kramer.[163][164] On July 22, 2017, Chris Kramer and Marc Antonio Carter officially joined the team.[165] On July 28, 2017, Mindaugas Brazys joined the coaching staff.[166] On August 17, 2017, notable Lithuanian youth national teams member Martynas Echodas was signed to a three-years deal.[167] The newly formed team has shown positive results during the preparation games, winning all their 7 games and the Vladas Garastas Cup.[168]

On September 23, 2017, Rytas began the 2017–18 LKL season by defeating Juventus Utena 82–75.[169] On September 25, 2017, Rytas signed with the experienced veteran Loukas Mavrokefalidis.[170] Due to the Artūras Gudaitis' departure to the Olimpia Milano, he was replaced by Egidijus Mockevičius, who signed a three-year deal with the team on September 30. However, Mockevičius was ruled out from playing due to injury.[171] In the LKL regular season, Rytas played the best season since 2015. Wins over rivals BC Neptūnas and BC Lietkabelis helped the team reach second place in the standings, behind BC Žalgiris, with whom Rytas tied in the season series, 2–2. In the LKL playoffs, Rytas defeated BC Juventus 3–0 in the quarterfinals. Having signed Neptūnas leaders Girdžiūnas and Butkevičius, Rytas became the most hated team in Klaipėda, and the rivalry between the two teams intensified. Rytas tied the season series with Neptūnas 2–2 in the regular season, with a win in Klaipėda in April 90–72 being the first one since the 2016 season and it helped Rytas secure 2nd place in the standings. The two teams faced off in the LKL semifinals. In the first game in Vilnius, Rytas shockingly lost to Neptūnas 74–83. In the second game in Klaipėda, Rytas avenged the loss and played the best defence of the season, winning 67–49 and tying the series at 1–1. Rytas then won the third game at home, 74–67, after good performances by both Mavrokefalidis, and Girdžiūnas, whose many shots helped Rytas take control against his former team and helped Rytas take a 2–1 series lead. In Klaipėda, with a chance to close out the series in the fourth game, Rytas took a 16-point lead in the first quarter. Neptūnas, however, came back - led by former Rytas players Seibutis and Delininkaitis, Neptūnas took the lead in the 4th quarter, and won the game 74–70, forcing the deciding match in Vilnius by tying the series 2–2. In the deciding fifth game, led by Girdžiūnas, Giedraitis, Mavrokefalidis and Echodas, Rytas defeated Neptūnas 88–82 in a very hard fought game, winning the series 3–2. The win marked the first trip to the LKL finals since 2015. In the LKL finals, Rytas faced Žalgiris, playing the best season since 1999 and coming off a 3rd-place finish in the Euroleague. Rytas lost the first game, 83–96, in Kaunas. In the second game, Rytas avenged the loss with a 82–73 win in Vilnius, led by Mavrokefalidis scoring 22 points and Ben Madgen with 19, and tied the series at 1–1. This win marked the first win by Rytas in the LKL finals since 2011. In Kaunas, Žalgiris won the game 90–80 and took a 2–1 series lead. Back in Vilnius, Rytas lead for much of the first half, but a tragic third quarter lead to a Rytas loss 78–82 at home, with Žalgiris taking a commanding 3–1 series lead. With one last chance, Rytas fought hard in the fifth game back in Kaunas, but a strong fourth quarter by Žalgiris lead to a 80–70 win. Rytas lost the series 1–4.

In the King Mindaugas Cup, Rytas avenged their previous season defeat against BC Juventus, winning an overtime thriller 91–88 in the quarterfinals thanks to Chris Kramer. In the semifinals, Rytas defeated BC Dzūkija 81–61. In the finals, Rytas faced rival BC Žalgiris, who were having a spectacular season in the Euroleague. Coming off two wins against Žalgiris in the LKL, Rytas lead in the first half, before Žalgiris recovered in the second, dominating the game and beating Rytas 81–62 in the finals.

In the 2017–18 EuroCup Basketball season, Rytas lost at home to Bilbao Basket 83–93 in the opener. The next week, Rytas won their first game by defeating KK Partizan 91–80 in Belgrade due to monster efforts from Week MVP Rokas Giedraitis, who scored 28 points, and Loukas Mavrokefalidis, 26 points. An injury to Chris Kramer did a lot of damage for the team - Rytas then lost a home game to PBC Lokomotiv Kuban 85–93 in overtime, as well as an away game to Alba Berlin 86–93. The team faced a lot of criticism for poor defence. With Kramer back in the lineup, Rytas defeated Limoges CSP at home, 92–76. The second round of the Eurocup became a huge success for Rytas - in Bilbao, Rytas avenged their loss by defeating Bilbao Basket 96–79 in dominating fashion, being led by Chris Kramer, who scored 27 points, and became the Week MVP. A home win against KK Partizan followed, 93–75. Rytas lost to Lokomotiv Kuban 68–77 in an away game, fighting back and erasing a huge deficit, but not being able to hold off Lokomotiv by the end. Many changes occurred in the team at the same time - Marc Antonio Carter and power forward Robert Carter were released, and replaced by Mindaugas Girdžiūnas and Arnas Butkevičius, leaders from rivals BC Neptūnas, and Egidijus Mockevičius returned from injury. These changes helped, as Rytas won the most important game in the regular season, by defeating Alba Berlin 94–73 and avenging their first round loss - the win also helped Rytas qualify for the EuroCup Top 16. In the last game of the regular season, Rytas defeated Limoges CSP 71–69 in an away game, finishing second in the group C. In the Top 16, Rytas started by losing a very tough game to B.C. Zenit Saint Petersburg at home, 96–98. After losing two more away games to Bayern Munich 68–81 and Fiat Torino 77–83, Rytas fell 0-3, worst start in club history. A monster game by Martynas Echodas, who became the Week MVP, helped Rytas get revenge against Fiat Torino 101–68 in home victory. During the same game, however, Arnas Butkevičius suffered a broken hand, and was out for about 5 weeks. In the most important game of the EuroCup season for Rytas, they fell to Zenit 100–113 in an away game, thus losing all chances to qualify for the EuroCup playoffs. Coach Kurtinaitis and the team faced heavy criticism for the poor defence. In the final home game in the EuroCup, Rytas lost to Bayern Munich 85–87, another poor defensive showing, and finished with a 1-5 record and last place in Top 16 group F.

2018–19: Fifth straight EuroCup season[edit]

Lithuania men's national basketball team head coach Dainius Adomaitis returned to Rytas in 2018

The preparation for the season began in June, during the semifinal series, with controversial rumors that Lithuanian national basketball team and former Rytas head coach Dainius Adomaitis will replace coach Kurtinaitis at the end of the season. While the team denied the rumors, after losing the LKL finals to BC Žalgiris, Adomaitis was named the team's new head coach. Former Rytas players and current members of the national team, Eimantas Bendžius and Evaldas Kairys, were the first additions, signing in July. Dominique Sutton, formerly of Dolomiti Energia Trento and one of the best players in both the Italian league and the Eurocup, signed in August. D. J. Seeley replaced Rokas Giedraitis, who left to sign with Alba Berlin. Rytas also signed point guard Matt Farrell, scoring leader from University of Notre Dame, but he was released just before the season, for reported personal reasons. Talented young players Deividas Sirvydis and Marek Blaževič were signed to long term deals. Kramer, who res-igned in the summer, was named as the new team captain. Rytas won the first game of the season, beating BC Juventus 87:57 in the start of the LKL. Guard Manny Harris was signed in October.

In the 2018–19 EuroCup Basketball, on October 2, Rytas defeated Unicaja Malaga in the first game in Vilnius, winning 80:72. On October 10, Rytas lost to Unics in Kazan 86:73.

De facto BC Lietuvos rytas anthem[edit]

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.

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Rytas roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt. Age
F 2 United States Sutton, Dominique 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 96 kg (212 lb) 32 – (1986-10-20)20 October 1986
F 22 Lithuania Bendžius, Eimantas 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 86 kg (190 lb) 28 – (1990-04-23)23 April 1990
SF 51 Lithuania Butkevičius, Arnas 1.97 m (6 ft 6 in) 92 kg (203 lb) 26 – (1992-10-22)22 October 1992
F/C 14 Lithuania Echodas, Martynas 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 102 kg (225 lb) 21 – (1997-07-07)7 July 1997
C 12 Lithuania Giga, Norbertas 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 103 kg (227 lb) 23 – (1995-06-06)6 June 1995
PG 18 Lithuania Girdžiūnas, Mindaugas 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 86 kg (190 lb) 29 – (1989-01-20)20 January 1989
F/C 25 Lithuania Kairys, Evaldas 2.07 m (6 ft 9 in) 105 kg (231 lb) 28 – (1990-10-11)11 October 1990
PG 3 United States Kramer, Chris (C) 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 98 kg (216 lb) 30 – (1988-04-04)4 April 1988
G 11 United States Seeley, D.J. 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 88 kg (194 lb) 28 – (1989-11-28)28 November 1989
F 0 Lithuania Sirvydis, Deividas 2.02 m (6 ft 8 in) 86 kg (190 lb) 18 – (2000-06-10)10 June 2000
C 23 Lithuania Blaževič, Marek 2.07 m (6 ft 9 in) 93 kg (205 lb) 17 – (2001-09-01)1 September 2001
PG 9 Lithuania Pilauskas, Aistis 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 20 – (1998-04-08)8 April 1998
PG 13 Lithuania Normantas, Margiris 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in) 94 kg (207 lb) 21 – (1996-10-27)27 October 1996
SG 5 United States Harris, Manny 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 84 kg (185 lb) 29 – (1989-09-21)21 September 1989
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)
Doctor
  • Lithuania Mantas Ambraška
Physiotherapist(s)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • Injured Injured

Updated: October 9, 2018

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starting 5 Bench 1 Bench 2 Bench 3
C Martynas Echodas Evaldas Kairys Marek Blaževič Norbertas Giga
PF Dominique Sutton Eimantas Bendžius Lukas Kvedaravičius
SF Manny Harris Arnas Butkevičius
SG D. J. Seeley Deividas Sirvydis Margiris Normantas
PG Chris Kramer Mindaugas Girdžiūnas Aistis Pilauskas

Squad changes for/during the 2018–19 season[edit]

Note: exact date is listed for players who joined or left during season.

In[edit]

Lietuvos rytas warming-up before the game
Lietuvos rytas fans during LKL game
Lietuvos rytas versus Žalgiris in Vilnius
No. Position Player


Lithuania SF Eimantas Bendžius (from SpainMonbus Obradoiro)
Lithuania F/C Evaldas Kairys (from TurkeyDemir İnşaat Büyükçekmece)
United States F Dominique Sutton (from ItalyDolomiti Energia Trento)
United States SG D. J. Seeley (from SpainHerbalife Gran Canaria)
Lithuania C Norbertas Giga (from United StatesJacksonville State Gamecocks)
United States SG Manny Harris (from GreeceAEK Athens)

Out[edit]

No. Position Player


31 Lithuania SF Rokas Giedraitis (to GermanyAlba Berlin)
55 Lithuania C Egidijus Mockevičius (to ItalyVL Pesaro)
21 Lithuania F Artūras Jomantas (to LithuaniaDzūkija Alytus)
20 United States G Jimmy Baron (to FranceChampagne Châlons-Reims)
12 Greece C Loukas Mavrokefalidis (to free agent)
42 United States F Travis Peterson (to free agent)
8 Lithuania SF Mindaugas Lukauskis (to LithuaniaSkycop Prienai)
1 Australia SG Ben Madgen (to GermanyCrailsheim Merlins)
United States PG Matt Farrell (to free agent)

Out on loan[edit]

No. Position Player


Honours[edit]

BC Rytas Alley of Glory in Siemens Arena.

Total titles: 22

Domestic competitions[edit]

European competitions[edit]

Regional competitions[edit]

Preseason competitions[edit]

Season by season[edit]

Season LKL LKF Cup KMT Cup Regional Competitions Europe Roster
For more detailed information see Former Lietuvos rytas rosters
Head coach
1997–98 3rd place Champion Korać Cup
Top 32
Marius Janišius, Arnas Kazlauskas, Egidijus Mikalajūnas, Aurimas Palšis, Martynas Purlys, Virginijus Sirvydis, Rolandas Skaisgirys, Gintaras Stulga, Andrius Šakalys, Andrius Šležas, Rolandas Vaičiūnas Paulauskas,
Vainauskas
1998–99 Finalist NEBL
3rd place
Saporta Cup
Top 32
Darius Dimavičius, Andrius Giedraitis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Arnas Kazlauskas, Kęstutis Kemzūra, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Egidijus Mikalajūnas, Makhtar N'Diaye, Aurimas Palšis, Martynas Purlys, Roman Safronov, Virginijus Sirvydis, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Singaras Tribė, Andrius Vyšniauskas Vainauskas,
Sakalauskas
1999–00 Champion NEBL
Finalist
Saporta Cup
Semifinalist
Giedrius Aidietis, Mantas Česnauskis, Valerij Četovič, Eric Elliott, Andrius Giedraitis, Rolandas Jarutis, Robertas Javtokas, Gintaras Kadžiulis, Arnas Kazlauskas, Arvydas Macijauskas, Oleksandr Okunsky, Mlađan Šilobad, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Andrius Šležas, Andrius Vyšniauskas Vainauskas,
Sakalauskas
2000–01 Finalist NEBL
3rd place
SuproLeague
Top 16
Valerij Četovič, Eric Elliott, Andrius Giedraitis, Greg Grant, Rolandas Jarutis, Artūras Javtokas, Robertas Javtokas, Gintaras Kadžiulis, Arnas Kazlauskas, Arvydas Macijauskas, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Andrius Šležas Sakalauskas,
Vainauskas
2001–02 Champion NEBL
Champion
Saporta Cup
Quarterfinalist
Vedran Bosnić, Mantas Česnauskis, Simas Jasaitis, Artūras Javtokas, Robertas Javtokas, Walsh Jordan, Rimantas Kaukėnas, Aivaras Kiaušas, Arvydas Macijauskas, Kęstutis Marčiulionis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Andrius Šležas, Andrius Vyšniauskas Vainauskas,
Kazlauskas
2002–03 Finalist NEBL
Finalist
Champions Cup
Group stage
Povilas Čukinas, Tomas Delininkaitis, Simas Jasaitis, Artūras Javtokas, Aaron Lucas, Aivaras Kiaušas, Vladimir Krstić, Arvydas Macijauskas, Oleksandr Okunsky, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Andrius Šležas, Steve Woodberry Kazlauskas
2003–04 Finalist ULEB Cup
Quarterfinalist
Steponas Babrauskas, Povilas Čukinas, Tomas Delininkaitis, Miljan Goljović, Simas Jasaitis, Robertas Javtokas, Saulius Kuzminskas, Aaron Lucas, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Dickey Simpkins, Ramūnas Šiškauskas, Andrius Šležas Kazlauskas,
Kemzūra
2004–05 Finalist BBL Elite Division
Finalist
ULEB Cup
Champion
Povilas Čukinas, Tomas Delininkaitis, Gintaras Einikis, Fred House, Rolandas Jarutis, Simas Jasaitis, Robertas Javtokas, Saulius Kuzminskas, Aaron Lucas, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Haris Mujezinović, Tyrone Nesby, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Andrius Šležas, Roberts Štelmahers Đurović,
Mahorič
2005–06 Champion BBL Elite Division
Champion
EuroLeague
Top 16
Steponas Babrauskas, Maurice Baker, Sandis Buškevics, Povilas Čukinas, Tomas Delininkaitis, Ernestas Ežerskis, Fred House, Simas Jasaitis, Robertas Javtokas, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Haris Mujezinović, Matthew Nielsen, Ivan Tomas, Andrius Šležas, Roberts Štelmahers Spahija
2006–07 Finalist Finalist BBL Elite Division
Champion
ULEB Cup
Finalist
J. P. Batista, Jānis Blūms, Tomas Delininkaitis, Andre Emmett, Martynas Gecevičius, Titus Ivory, Artūras Jomantas, Evaldas Kairys, Ivan Koljević, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Matthew Nielsen, Darius Pakamanis, Marijonas Petravičius, Kareem Rush, Andrius Šležas, Roberts Štelmahers, Eurelijus Žukauskas Drucker,
Sagadin,
Trifunović
2007–08 Finalist Finalist BBL Elite Division
Finalist
EuroLeague
Top 16
Michailas Anisimovas, Kenan Bajramović, J. P. Batista, Lukas Brazdauskis, Simas Buterlevičius, Chuck Eidson, Martynas Gecevičius, Artūras Jomantas, Jared Jordan, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Darrel Mitchell, Matthew Nielsen, Marijonas Petravičius, Hollis Price, Jackson Vroman, Andrius Šležas, Roberts Štelmahers Trifunović
2008–09 Champion Champion BBL Elite Division
Champion
EuroCup
Champion
Michailas Anisimovas, Steponas Babrauskas, Milko Bjelica, Lukas Brazdauskis, Simas Buterlevičius, Evaldas Dainys, Chuck Eidson, Martynas Gecevičius, Artūras Jomantas, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Branko Milisavljević, Matthew Nielsen, Marijonas Petravičius, Marius Prekevičius, Justas Sinica, Tautvydas Šležas, Donatas Zavackas Sireika,
Kurtinaitis
2009–10 Champion Champion BBL Elite Division
Finalist
EuroLeague
Group stage
Steponas Babrauskas, Kenan Bajramović, Aron Baynes, Milko Bjelica, Dejan Borovnjak, Lukas Brazdauskis, Simas Buterlevičius, Evaldas Dainys, Martynas Gecevičius, Vidas Ginevičius, Artūras Jomantas, Igor Milošević, Bojan Popović, Justas Sinica, Jonas Valančiūnas, Donatas Zavackas Kurtinaitis
2010–11 Finalist Finalist BBL Elite Division
3rd place
EuroLeague
Top 16
Steponas Babrauskas, Kenan Bajramović, Petras Baločka, Milko Bjelica, Simas Buterlevičius, Khalid El-Amin, Martynas Gecevičius, Simas Jasaitis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Jerry Johnson, Artūras Jomantas, Žydrūnas Kelys, Igor Milošević, Cemal Nalga, Brad Newley, Karolis Petrukonis, Aleksandar Rašić, D. J. Strawberry, Arvydas Šikšnius, Jonas Valančiūnas Anzulović,
Trifunović,
Maskoliūnas
VTB
Group Stage
2011–12 Finalist BBL Elite Division
Finalist
EuroLeague qualifying
Finalist
Steponas Babrauskas, Paulius Dambrauskas, Vilmantas Dilys, Goran Jeretin, Artūras Jomantas, Mindaugas Katelynas, Brad Newley, Aleksandar Rašić, Dovydas Redikas, Tyrese Rice, Lawrence Roberts, Predrag Samardžiski, Renaldas Seibutis, Jonas Valančiūnas Džikić
VTB
3rd place
EuroCup
3rd place
2012–13 Finalist VTB
Group Stage
EuroLeague
Group Stage
Steponas Babrauskas, Eimantas Bendžius, Jānis Blūms, Simas Buterlevičius, Vilmantas Dilys, Deividas Dulkys, Dejan Ivanov, Artūras Jomantas, Mindaugas Katelynas, Tautvydas Lydeka, Nemanja Nedović, Patrick O'Bryant, Milt Palacio, Leon Radošević, Dovydas Redikas, Predrag Samardžiski, Renaldas Seibutis, Tomislav Zubčić Džikić,
Maskoliūnas,
Bauermann
2013–14 3rd place Finalist VTB
Semi-finals
Qualified For EuroLeague Steponas Babrauskas, Eimantas Bendžius, Omar Cook, Paulius Dambrauskas, Zabian Dowdell, Deividas Dulkys, Martynas Gecevičius, Andreas Glyniadakis, Stevan Jelovac, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Tautvydas Lydeka, Gediminas Orelik, Juan Palacios, Dovydas Redikas, Renaldas Seibutis, Darius Songaila, Edvinas Šeškus, Milenko Tepić Bauermann,
Petrović,
Adomaitis
EuroLeague
Group Stage
EuroCup
Eighth-finals
2014–15 Finalist Finalist EuroCup
Eighth-finals
Travis Leslie, Simas Jasaitis, Paulius Dambrauskas, Adas Juškevičius, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Billy Baron, Edvinas Šeškus, Artūras Valeika, Kšyštof Lavrinovič, Martynas Gecevičius, Gediminas Orelikas, Žygimantas Janavičius, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Mike Moser Šeškus,
Nicola
2015–16 3rd place Champion EuroCup
Group Stage
Adam Łapeta, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Gediminas Orelik, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Kendrick Brown, Artūras Gudaitis, Nicolás Laprovíttola, Kšyštof Lavrinovič, Deividas Gailius, Adas Juškevičius, Denys Lukashov, Artūras Jomantas, Marius Runkauskas, Julius Jucikas, Rokas Giedraitis, Žygimantas Janavičius, Edvinas Šeškus, Aistis Pilauskas Nicola,
Jasilionis,
Gronskis,
Pačėsas
2016–17 3rd place Quarter-finalist EuroCup
Top 16
Artūras Gudaitis, David Logan, Drew Gordon, Kenny Kadji, Margiris Normantas, Taylor Brown, Clevin Hannah, Corey Fisher, Laimonas Kisielius, Deividas Gailius, Adam Łapeta, Lukas Kvedaravičius, Jimmy Baron, Josh Akognon, Artūras Jomantas, Deividas Sirvydis, Arnas Beručka, Julius Jucikas, Rokas Giedraitis, Rashaun Broadus, Domantas Vilys, Aistis Pilauskas Pačėsas,
Kurtinaitis
2017–18 Finalist Finalist EuroCup
Top 16
Ben Madgen, Margiris Normantas, Chris Kramer, Robert Carter, Mindaugas Lukauskis, Loukas Mavrokefalidis, Martynas Echodas, Jimmy Baron, Artūras Jomantas, Marc Carter, Rokas Giedraitis, Travis Peterson, Egidijus Mockevičius, Deividas Sirvydis, Mindaugas Girdžiūnas, Arnas Butkevičius Kurtinaitis
Detailed information of former rosters and results.[174][175][176][177]

Team records in LKL[edit]

Rytas game in early 2006
Rytas game in late 2008
Statistic Record Opponent Result Date Venue
Points 134 Alytus 134–76 26 October 2008 Lietuvos rytas Arena
Rebounds 65 Prienai-Vytautas 113–56 6 January 2018 Lietuvos rytas Arena
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: 2018–06–15.[178]

Important people and venues[edit]

Steponas Babrauskas was a long-term Lietuvos rytas captain.

Venues[edit]

Seasons
used
Venue Capacity Notes
1997–1998 Ekinsta Sports Hall 1,000
1998–2004 Lietuvos rytas Sports Arena
(Olimpiečių street)
2,000
3,500
At first capacity of 2,000, later expanded to 3,500.
2004–present Siemens Arena 11,000 Used for all EuroLeague/EuroCup/VTB games and some LKL games
2004–present Lietuvos rytas Arena 1,700
2,500
At first capacity of 1,700, later expanded to 2,500
Used for most LKL games and practices.

Notable players[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.


In Statyba[edit]

In Lietuvos rytas[edit]

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.

Notable coaches[edit]

BC Rytas Alley of Glory in Siemens Arena.

The following head coaches won at least one major trophy when in charge of Rytas:

Name Period Trophies
Lithuania Alfredas Vainauskas 1997–2001 LKF Cup
Lithuania Šarūnas Sakalauskas 1998–2001 Lithuanian Basketball League
Lithuania Jonas Kazlauskas 2001–2004 Lithuanian Basketball League, North European Basketball League
Slovenia Tomo Mahorič 2005 ULEB Cup
Croatia Neven Spahija 2005–2006 Lithuanian Basketball League, Baltic Basketball League
Serbia Aleksandar Trifunović 2007–2008
2010–2011
Baltic Basketball League
Lithuania Rimas Kurtinaitis 2008–2010
2017–present
Lithuanian Basketball Leagues, 2× LKF Cups, Baltic Basketball League, EuroCup
Lithuania Tomas Pačėsas 2016–2017 King Mindaugas Cup

Statistical leaders[edit]

All time points per game in European Cup games (PPG)[edit]

Only players with significant amount of games played or points scored.

Position Nat. Player Seasons Games Total points Points per game
1 Lithuania Ramūnas Šiškauskas 6 75 1068 14.2
2 Lithuania Arvydas Macijauskas 4 66 978 14.8
3 Lithuania Martynas Gecevičius 7 92 875 9.5
4 Lithuania Andrius Šležas 10 141 867 6.1
5 Lithuania Robertas Javtokas 6 89 855 9.6
6 Lithuania Mindaugas Lukauskis 9 119 768 6.5
7 Lithuania Andrius Giedraitis 3 45 758 16.8
8 Lithuania Artūras Jomantas 9 110 660 6.0
9 Lithuania Renaldas Seibutis 3 44 590 13.4
10 Lithuania Simas Jasaitis 7 77 575 7.5
11 United States Poland Eric Elliott 2 39 573 14.7
12 Lithuania Marijonas Petravičius 3 47 523 11.1
13 Australia Matthew Nielsen 3 46 498 10.8
14 Lithuania Steponas Babrauskas 7 86 473 5.5
15 Lithuania Kęstutis Šeštokas 4 58 472 8.1

Last updated: 2016–11–15

Individual awards[edit]

EuroLeague[edit]

EuroCup[edit]

Matches against NBA teams[edit]

21 October 2008
Golden State Warriors United States 126–106 Lithuania Lietuvos rytas Vilnius

Video game[edit]

Lietuvos rytas basketball club was featured in the NBA 2K15 video game.[180]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]