2012-13 Club Profile: Zalgiris Kaunas

Jun 13, 2012 by Euroleague.net Print
Zalgiris Kaunas
2011-12 Results
Euroleague: Top 16
Baltic B. League: Champion
Lithuanian League: Champion
Lithuanian Cup: Champion
Mantas Kalnietis - Zalgiris Kaunas
Mantas Kalnietis
PROVISIONAL ROSTER
2012-13
JUSKEVICIUS, ADAS
G
LAFAYETTE, OLIVER
G
KLIMAVICIUS, TADAS
F
KAUKENAS, RIMANTAS
G
LAVRINOVIC, KSISTOF
C
LAVRINOVIC, DARJUS
C
DARDEN, TREMMELL
G
POPOVIC, MARKO
G
LIPKEVICIUS, VYTENIS
F
KALNIETIS, MANTAS
G
JANKUNAS, PAULIUS
F
JAVTOKAS, ROBERTAS
C
DELAS, MARIO
F
KUZMINSKAS, MINDAUGAS
F
Head Coach: PLAZA, JOAN
Zalgiris Kaunas boasts a rich history and enjoys a special place in a basketball-mad country. Moreover, the opening of Zalgirio Arena gives the club a spectacular home fit for a historic Euroleague club of its magnitude. Zalgiris made it to the Top 16 last season for the third year running and managed to successfully defend all of its three domestic crowns – the Baltic League, Lithuanian League and Lithuanian Cup. Zalgiris won the Euroleague title in 1999 and repeating that achievement remains its main long-term goal. Founded in 1944 by the best basketball players in Kaunas, Zalgiris needed just three years to win its first Soviet title. It became Soviet champion four other times - in 1951 and from 1985 to 1987, the latter period going down as the team’s first golden age. With legends Arvydas Sabonis, Sergejus Jovaisa, Rimas Kurtinaitis and Valdemaras Homicius taking charge, Zalgiris reached the Saporta Cup final in 1984, but lost to Barcelona. Zalgiris did even better in 1986 when it advanced to the Euroleague title game only to lose the crown to Cibona and Drazen Petrovic. Following independence for Lithuania in 1990, Zalgiris took the first nine Lithuanian League championships, thus creating a dynasty. In 1998, the team lifted its first-ever European trophy, the Saporta Cup, by downing Adecco Milano 82-67 in the title game behind 35 points from Saulius Stombergas. A year later, it shocked the continent by winning the 1999 Euroleague title. Moreover, it did it so with a fun-to-watch offensive style that influenced the sport heading into the new century. A cast of stars including Tyus Edney, Stombergas, Anthony Bowie, Eurelijus Zukauskas, Jiri Zidek and Coach Jonas Kazlauskas helped Zalgiris show that up-tempo basketball could also win titles. Zalgiris came within a shot of the Euroleague Final Four in 2004 before eventual champion Maccabi Tel Aviv won their do-or-die Top 16 finale in overtime in epic fashion. Zalgiris continued to win Lithuanian League titles from 2003 to 2005, the year in which the club also became the first to win the Baltic League, too. With Sabonis backing the team as president, Zalgiris's success extended to its junior team, which won the 2007 Nike International Junior Tournament at the Final Four in Athens. Zalgiris lifted three trophies – the Baltic League, Lithuanian League and Lithuanian Cup – in 2007-08. The team encountered a pair of rare title-free season in the following two years due to obstacles like injuries and coaching changes. In 2010-11, a roster complete with a strong core of local players bolstered by experienced stars took the club to memorable wins in the Euroleague and a perfect regular season in the Lithuanian League. Last season Zalgiris repeated the triple crown, but a 0-6 Top 16 record left Zalgiris with a bitter taste. Zalgiris won’t be content with just making the Top 16, so the next challenge is to build on its success and take things one step further into the playoffs and beyond. With an outstanding fan base at the magnificent Zalgirio Arena, Zalgiris is already on the right track.