|Leagues||Lithuanian Basketball League
Baltic Basketball League
FIBA Europe Cup
1994–2007, 2012–2013, 2014–2015
|Team colors||Navy blue and White
|Head coach||Virginijus Šeškus|
|Championships||1 BBL Champions
1 NKL Champions
2 LKF Cup
2 Lithuanian Basketball League
BC Prienai (Lithuanian: Krepšinio klubas Prienai), also known by the sponsor name BC Vytautas, is a professional basketball club based in Prienai and more recently taking up Birštonas. They play domestically in Lithuanian Basketball League and also compete in the Baltic Basketball League every year. During the 2008–09 season, then called Rūdupis they became the champion of the NKL and won the challenge match for a slot in the LKL. In their debut LKL season Rūdupis took seventh place, while next two seasons brought BC Prienai two bronze LKL medals. BC Prienai played in EuroCup 2011–12 with moderate success; the team managed to win 3 games out of 6, but nonetheless failed to qualify for the next stage. More recently, the team has become a strong competitor in domestic tournaments, more than once upsetting teams such as Žalgiris Kaunas and Lietuvos rytas Vilnius.
- 1 History
- 2 Players
- 3 Season by season
- 4 Notable players
- 5 Notable coaches
- 6 Notable games
- 7 References
- 8 External links
1994–2010: Early years
The club was founded in 1994 as KK Prienų Taupomasis Bankas playing in the LKAL and were one of the top teams. They joined the NKL ever since its foundation in 2005. During this time period in the NKL, the team would change names as it seemed every season, Prienai had their ups and downs, such as going from third seed in their group to not making the playoffs next season, but the major victories were yet to come.
During 2008–09 season, then called Rūdupis, the club, for the first time in the club history, became NKL champions downing Meresta Pakruojis in Game 7 of the finals. Because of that, BC Rūdupis got their slot in the Lithuanian Basketball League.
2010–2014: Turning heads
During the 2010–11 season, BC Rūdupis won the LKF Cup Bronze medals and was only one step away from gold or silver medals as they lost a thriller against the legendary Žalgiris Kaunas 73–75, but the surprises from BC Rūdupis in the 2010–11 season were not finished yet, as BC Rūdupis defeated Lithuanian Basketball League champions Lietuvos rytas Vilnius with result 96–82, during a LKL match at their home arena on 29 March 2011. On 15 April 2011, BC Rūdupis signed a contract with Rolandas Alijevas until the end of the season. In the LKL semi finals Rūdupis was not able to eliminate Lithuanian basketball powerhouse Lietuvos rytas Vilnius as they lost both matches (first match: 75–88, second match: 69–96). Rūdupis then played against Juventus in the LKL Bronze final, they won the first game at Prienai with a result of 79–65, then won the second game, this time on the road in Utena with a result 98–73. The third game took place in Prienai where Rūdupis won a thriller 84–83, thus winning the series 3–0 and becoming Lithuanian Basketball League bronze medalists for the first time in the club's history.
In 2011–12 season, the team played in the EuroCup competition, finishing 3rd in the group, though failing to qualify to the playoffs. They repeated as bronze medal winners, this time defeating Šiauliai 3–1.
The 2012–13 season was moderately successful for BC Prienai. The team played in the EuroCup, but again did not move past the group stage. The team also reached the BBL finals, and won the LKF Cup against Pieno žvaigždės Pasvalys. Despite home court advantage, Prienai lost to Neptūnas Klaipėda in the bronze medal series.
In the 2013–14 season, Lithuanian businessman Antanas Guoga sponsored the newly renamed BC TonyBet, the team once again won the LKF Cup when they pulled off a double upset, defeating Lietuvos rytas Vilnius in the finals after upsetting Žalgiris Kaunas in the semifinal. Prienai finished second in the LKL regular season, which even included a blowout win against Žalgiris Kaunas 101–83 at home. BC TonyBet made it to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year, this time with a chance to qualify to the LKL finals for the first time ever, but lost the series 0–2 to Neptūnas Klaipėda. In the bronze medal series, the team lost to Lietuvos rytas. Apart from the disappointing finish, it was one of the most successful seasons in club history.
2014–present: Setbacks & a new direction
The 2014–15 season was more of a write-off, as it started a rebuilding phase for the team. The team, having lost their main sponsor, longtime coach and much of the previous season's roster, played poorly. The team barely avoided relegation in the LKL, with a 23–game losing streak plummeting the team to the bottom of the standings. The team played better in the BBL, reaching the playoffs. Because of poor play, the team failed to qualify for the LKF Cup, losing it to Žalgiris Kaunas after their successful previous two seasons.
In the 2015 off-season, BC Prienai announced a sponsorship deal with Birštonas mineral water company, will be changing their name to BC Birštono Vytautas for sponsorship reasons and also bringing back head coach Virginijus Šeškus. Having proper sponsorship, the club hopes to return to their competitive ways in the upcoming season. It was later corrected that the name will be BC Vytautas and that the club is going to be shared with the neighboring city of Birštonas, which hopefully would also expand the fanbase. Furthermore, on July 29, 2015, the club was invited to join the 2015–16 FIBA Europe Cup tournament, which is the alternative version of the 2nd tier European tournament EuroCup, organized by FIBA. Although, just before the drawing ceremony, it was announced that 56 teams will participate instead of 64 and Vytautas is not one of these 56. In this off-season BC Vytautas brought back former players Povilas Butkevičius, Vaidas Čepukaitis and Laimonas Kisielius, also resigning Prienai natives Domantas Šeškus, Paulius Ivanauskas and bringing in major reinforcement with Šarūnas Vasiliauskas, Vilmantas Dilys, Vytautas Šulskis, Gytis Sirutavičius. On 16 September 2015, Prienai announced their new logo and color change to blue and white as part of the sponsorship deal, though blue has been a traditional sports team color in the Prienai–Birštonas area.
On 30 December 2015, Prienai native Edvinas Šeškus was cleared to play for Vytautas, joining his father the head coach and his older brother Domantas. Because of injuries ruining the rotation, on 26 February 2016, Vytautas signed Tauras Jogėla. In the BBL playoffs, they lost to Nevėžis Kėdainiai in an upset. Vytautas finished the LKL regular season with a 19–17 record, but lost 2–3 in the quarterfinals to Juventus Utena.
Before the 2016–17 season, the team signed longtime Lithuanian national team player Tomas Delininkaitis. In addition to the LKL, the team also played in the FIBA Europe Cup. They easily finished 1st in the regular season group, defeating Mureș and TLÜ/Kalev Tallinn. In the second round, the team finished second, losing only to Telekom Baskets Bonn. The loss at home, however, cost the team a place in the playoffs. BC Vytautas then entered the BBL playoffs, as one of the potential favorites to win. They easily defeated Pärnu in the first round, before defeating Latvian champions Valmiera in the quaterfinals and Estonian champions [[|BC Kalev|Kalev/Cramo Tallinn]] in the semifinals. In the finals, Vytautas faced LKL rival Pieno žvaigždės Pasvalys. After losing the first game at home 85–88, they won the away game 89–74, winning the series 174–162 on aggregate, and winning their first BBL championship. Injuries started hurting the team, and in the quaterfinals Vytautas lost the series 0–3 to Lietkabelis Panevėžys.
Vytautas started the 2017–18 season poorly by failing to qualify for the 2017–18 Basketball Champions League season. The team was also performing poorly in the national competition by achieving only 4 victories out of 13 games in the 2017–18 LKL season. Consequently, the interest of fans to the team was rapidly decreasing everyday. Although, on 11 December 2017, the team has signed LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball, whose brother Lonzo Ball plays for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA), both of whom reportedly agreed to join the team in the beginning of January 2018. Team managers described it as instant success.
Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.
|Vytautas Prienai-Birštonas roster|
|Pos.||Starting 5||Bench 1||Bench 2||Bench 3|
|C||Tadas Klimavičius||Egidijus Dimša|
|PF||Eigirdas Žukauskas||Regimantas Miniotas|
|SF||Martynas Linkevičius||Justas Sinica||Bartas Aleksandravičius|
|SG||Tomas Dimša||Edvinas Šeškus||LiAngelo Ball|
|PG||Denys Lukashov||Paulius Ivanauskas||Gediminas Maceina||LaMelo Ball|
Squad changes for/during the 2017/18 season
Season by season
|Season||Tier||League||Pos.||Baltic League||LKF Cup||European competitions|
|2009–10||1||LKL||7th||Challenge Cup||2nd||Second round|
|2010–11||1||LKL||3rd||Elite Division||6th||Third place|
|2011–12||1||LKL||3rd||Elite Division||8th||Fourth place||2 Eurocup||RS||3–3|
|2012–13||1||LKL||4th||Elite Division||2nd||Champion||2 Eurocup||RS||2–4|
|2014–15||1||LKL||9th||Round of 16|
|2015–16||1||LKL||5th||Round of 16||Fourth place|
|2016–17||1||LKL||6th||Champion||Fourth place||4 FIBA Europe Cup||R2||7–3|
|2017–18||1||LKL||3 Champions League||QR1||1–1|
- Valdas Dabkus (2010; 2012)
- Povilas Butkevičius (2010–2012, 2015–2016)
- Gediminas Orelik (2010–2013)
- Dainius Šalenga (2011–2012, 2013, 2015–2016)
- Rolandas Alijevas (2011–2012)
- Saulius Kuzminskas (2011–2012)
- Gintaras Kadžiulis (2011–2014)
- Artūras Valeika (2012–2014)
- Mindaugas Lukauskis (2013–2014)
- Artūras Milaknis (2012–2013)
- Virginijus Šeškus (2008–2014, 2015–present)
December 1, 2013
|Scoring by quarter: 21–22, 29–13, 21–19, 30–29|
|Pts: Lukauskis 23
Rebs: Linkevičius 6
Asts: Valeika 9
|Pts: Jankūnas 13
Rebs: Jankūnas, K.Lavrinovič 6
Asts: Jasikevičius 3
March 29, 2014
|Scoring by quarter: 19–19, 23–19, 25–24, 17–14|
|Pts: Lukauskis 19
Rebs: Linkevičius 7
Asts: Ivanauskas 5
|Pts: Jankūnas 15
Rebs: Javtokas 14
Asts: Jankūnas 5
- "NKL čempionais tapo "Rūdupio" krepšininkai (foto)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- ""Rūdupis" sutriuškino "Neptūną" ir iškovojo LKF taurės turnyro bronzą". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- "LKF taurės pusfinalyje "Žalgiris" tik paskutinėmis akimirkomis palaužė "Rūdupį" (nuotraukos)". 15min.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- "LKL: Prienų "Rūdupis" sensacingai įveikė "Lietuvos rytą"". 15min.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Pupininkas, Martynas. ""Rūdupis" pasiekė susitarimą su Alijevu". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- "Tritaškius fantastiškai metęs "Lietuvos rytas" pirmajame LKL pusfinalyje palaužė "Rūdupį"". 15min.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Miklovas, Jonas. ""Lietuvos rytas" be didesnių problemų žengė į LKL finalą (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Miklovas, Jonas. "Pirmąjį mūšį dėl bronzos laimėjo "Rūdupis" (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Pupininkas, Martynas. "LKL mažasis finalas: "Rūdupis" sudavė dar vieną smūgį "Juventus" ekipai (video, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- Miklovas, Jonas. "LKL bronza pirmą kartą istorijoje atiteko "Rūdupiui" (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- "FIBA Europos taurės dalyvių sąraše – penki Lietuvos klubai". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
- "FIBA paskutinę akimirką iš turnyro dalyvių sąrašo išbraukė "Lietkabelį" ir "Vytautą"". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "Namie olandų sutriuškintas „Vytautas" pasitraukė iš FIBA Čempionų lygos atrankos". DELFI. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
- "Prienų–Birštono Vytautas - LKL.LT". LKL.lt. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
- "OFICIALU: „Vytauto" gretose – broliai Ball'ai". bcvytautas.lt (in Lithuanian). December 12, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
- Stalgaitis, Vilius. "Rankomis trinantis „Vytautas": „Jau dabar matome akivaizdžią naudą"". BasketNews.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 12 December 2017.
- "Vytautas". LKL.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "PRIENAI". BBL.net. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "BC Prienai". www.eurocupbasketball.com. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
- "Prienu-Birstono Vytautas". FIBA.com. Retrieved 3 July 2017.