ANGT alumni: Arturas Gudaitis, Milan

Jun 19, 2020 by Euroleague.net Print
ANGT alumni: Arturas Gudaitis, Milan

The EuroLeague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament has developed into one of the world's most prestigious stops for future stars in basketball. From 2003 onwards, more and more players have used the ANGT to showcase their talents at a young age and gain experience in international club competition. One player who gave fans a taste of his future success in the ANGT is center Arturas Gudaitis of AX Armani Exchange Milan. Gudaitis played for U18 Rytas Vilnius at the 2010-11 Rome qualifying tournament and later that season appeared at the ANGT Finals at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Barcelona for U18 Zalgiris Kaunas. The Klaipeda native played on loan for both teams.

Gudaitis, who was 17 years old for the entire ANGT campaign, came off the bench in the opening game in Rome against Lottomatica Roma and tallied 15 points and 5 rebounds in the victory. He was held to 4 points and 3 rebounds as a reserve in Rytas' only loss at ANGT Rome against Fenerbahce Istanbul, but then had 10 points and 9 rebounds in a win over Benetton Basket Treviso before collecting 11 points and 7 rebounds as Rytas knocked off KK Zagreb - a team Gudaitis would face again in Barcelona. Gudaitis averaged 10.0 points and 6.0 rebounds in his four games in Rome. While Rytas did not qualify for the ANGT Finals, Zalgiris was granted a spot in Spain and brought in Gudaitis on loan and inserted the big man into its starting lineup. He tallied 6 points and 12 rebounds in the opening win over Team China before putting together 15 points and 12 rebounds as Zalgiris defeated Crvena Zvezda and finished group play with 9 points and 17 rebounds against host FC Barcelona to book a ticket for the ANGT Championship Game. Gudaitis once again totalled a double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds, but they were not enough as Zagreb took the title with a 76-65 victory thanks to a historic triple-double by Dario Saric, who had 19 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists. Gudaitis averaged 10.8 points and a tournament-high 14.0 rebounds in Barcelona.

Gudaitis would officially join the Zalgiris youth system in 2012 and debuted with the professional side in 2013-14. He posted 4.4 points and 2.6 rebounds as a 20-year-old in EuroLeague games. Gudaitis then had 6.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in his second EuroLeague season with Zalgiris before playing two campaigns in the 7DAYS EuroCup with Rytas. He stood out in 2016-17 with 13.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks. His rebounds average would have ranked second and he would have led the league in blocks had he appeared in enough games to qualify for the leaderboard, but Gudaitis had only played in nine games. That performance landed Gudaitis a return to the EuroLeague with Milan starting in 2017-18, in which he collected 10.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. The Lithuanian big man has remained one of Milan’s top performers since then, averaging 12.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in 2018-19 and finishing with 7.3 points and 4.4 rebounds this past season. For his career, Gudaitis has appeared in 96 EuroLeague games over five seasons and averaged 9.0 points and 5.4 rebounds while collecting 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 14 games in two EuroCup seasons. He also celebrated two Lithuanian league titles with Zalgiris, one Lithuanian Cup each with Zalgiris and Rytas and one Italian championship with Milan.