The experienced coach did not extended contract
Experienced basketball expert Jonas Kazlauskas left the bench of the national team of Lithuania, and as the official reason for that is the expiration of the contract with the Lithuanian Basketball Federation. Kazlauskas on the bench of Lithuania spent the previous four years and during that period Lithuanian national team found itself twice in the finals at the European Championships in 2013 and 2015, and then in the semifinals of the World Cup in 2014 and at the recent Olympic tournament, Lithuania was stopped in the quarterfinals.
One of the greatest Lithuanian coaches took over the national team in October 2012, and the job as a national coach of Baltic basketball superpower has already performed in the period from 1997 to 2001. During the first term on the bench of the Lithuanian national team, the greatest success has achieved at the Olympic Games in 2000, when Lithuania won the bronze medal. In the meantime, he was national coach of China and Greece. He was also the coach of the biggest Lithuanian clubs, Zalgiris and Lietuvos Rytas, and was also head coach of the powerhouses Olympiacos and CSKA. The greatest success in the club’s career achieved in 1999, when he led Zalgiris to the first and so far the only title of European champion.
Kazlauskas pointed out that this decision was made before the Olympic Games and that somewhat weaker result than expected was not the reason for his withdrawal. He also added that as a national coach gone through several painful losses, but also beautiful victories and that he is very proud of the results that have been reached with the national team.
From this perspective, it seems that the now former national coach managed to return Lithuania to the top of European and world basketball, but is also the fact that Lithuanians totally failed on the last tournament. It’s no secret that there were serious words after elimination, especially at the expense of the first star of Lithuania, Jonas Valanciunas. Jonas Kazlauskas has particularly stressed his poor performance and it was already clear that there will be changes in the national team.
At the moment are still unknown the candidates for the new national coach, but the fact is that Kazlauskas set a good foundation and established the continuity of the good results of the Lithuanian national team. The successor of an experienced coach will have to make a change of generations, which his predecessor had already begun with introducing several young players in the team. Lithuania is a great basketball nation, with a large base of talented players and the process ahead is unavoidable, but there is no doubt that Lithuania in the future will remain at the top of European basketball.