Martynas Pocius - ZalgirisBefore talking basketball, let me wish everyone a happy New Year and good health in 2010. Most of us athletes take good health for granted, but I think the holidays remind us that we are very fortunate. That was the case for me, at least, when another Martynas visited our team for a Euroleague game in December. Martynas is 11 and in a wheelchair due to disabilities he was born with. He's also a great lover of basketball and a big Zalgiris fan. Having heard it was his dream to see us play, the club arranged for Martynas to be a VIP for our game against Montepaschi Siena. He told them that Mantas Kalnietis and I were his favorite players, so we were chosen to give him a couple presents and talk with him. He was pretty shy at first, maybe a little shocked at the moment, but it was really nice and touching for us, too, to meet such a special kid and make his day better. I remember that when I played at Duke University would visit local hospitals or talk to kids with cancer, so to do something like that here at home was pretty awesome. For us, it doesn't take much to meet a kid like Martynas, talk a bit and sign a shirt. But then you see how much it means to him, it really makes his day, and you know how important it is to help make a dream come true.

Entering the new year, as you probably know, we at Zalgiris have our backs against the wall. We need to win our last two Euroleague regular season games - and get some help... more
DATE: January 4, 2010
Martynas Pocius - ZalgirisHi, everyone. After my first four weeks in the Euroleague, I think I can safely say that I experienced both the highs and lows of playing in this competition. I guess I did expect a lot of what happened so far: great players playing basketball at a really high level. That was the main impression I take away from the first month. Of course, the big support from our fans was huge, too. There were way more fans at our Euroleague games than we had at domestic games. For both of the Euroleague home games we've had, the place was packed. If that reminded me somewhat of my days at Duke University, my girlfriend saw something that told us we certainly weren't in America anymore. She was surprised to see fans carrying four-packs of beer into the stands to watch the game. In the States, you rarely see a guy with one beer, and in some places beer is not allowed at all. Here, you see them carrying four-packs or even eigh-packs. Home, sweet home!

First, the good news was our opening game, my first in the Euroleague. We were at home against Asvel and, like I said, our crowd was hyped for the Euroleague season to get started. I was a little nervous beforehand, which is natural, but I was definitely excited to be playing in this competition. Fortunately, I started off well. I came in and hit my first couple of shots, three-pointers, and that gave me a lot of confidence. I was able to hit another to give me 10 points before the first quarter ended. I am glad I could help send Zalgiris on its way to a victory to open the season. The best thing that happened was we won the game, and it was a huge confidence boost for us. In the locker room after that, the mood was really good. However, we had some tough games ahead, on the road in Siena and at home against... more
DATE: November 18, 2009
Martynas Pocius - ZalgirisGreetings from Kaunas! Even though I am European and have played for my national teams almost every summer coming up, it might be a good idea to introduce myself first. I am Martynas Pocius, a new player for Zalgiris Kaunas, but you can call me Marty. That's the nickname I went by for the last six years while I played high school and university basketball in America. I came home to Lithuania when possible to play with national teams in my age group, but this time, I am back to stay. Despite a chance to keep playing at one of the top universities in the NCAA for one of the top coaches in the world, I made my decision this summer to return to European basketball. Already, I can say that this has been an exciting change that I am sure is about to get more exciting with the start of the Euroleague this week.

To make a long story short, I left Lithuania to attend an American high school for two years and then had the good fortune to be recruited to play at Duke University under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, also known also as the current U.S. national team head coach and last Olympics gold medalist. I spent four years at Duke, and could have stayed for a fifth, but I had already graduated with the academic degree that I went there to get. Four years were enough, and I just really wanted to get back to European basketball.

That's why the start of the European season means so much to me. I kind of chose Zalgiris precisely because they are in the Euroleague. I had some other options in other countries, but not with Euroleague teams. So one of the main factors in my decision was to be able to play in the Euroleague. On Wednesday, like all the other players around the continent, I am going to be very excited. To walk out on our home... more
DATE: October 19, 2009

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