Rytas Vilnius comes off another good season, in which the team added more hardware to its trophy case and was very competitive in the 7DAYS EuroCup. Rytas struggled early, winning three of its first eight regular season games, but the arrivals of playmaker Rok Stipcevic and center Art Parakhouski took the Lithuanian powerhouse to a new level. Rytas won its last two regular season games to get to the Top 16 and defeated Partizan NIS Belgrade to go up 1-0. The club suffered three consecutive losses and was in a do-or-die situation when it visited Partizan in the Serbian capital. In a thriller, Rytas survived on a game-winning jumper by Parakhouski for a 77-78 victory. That win set another make-or-break showdown against AS Monaco, which Rytas won 90-68 to qualify for the EuroCup Quarterfinals for the first time since 2012. An unstoppable Valencia ended Rytas's campaign, but the team still made headlines when Martynas Echodas was chosen as the EuroCup Rising Star. Rytas won the Lithuanian King Mindaugas Cup by defeating archrival Zalgiris Kaunas 70-67 in Vilnius. It was the club's first trophy since 2016. Zalgiris exacted revenge in the Lithuanian League finals, but it was still a special season for Rytas.
This season will be Rytas Vilnius's seventh straight in the EuroCup and 12th overall. During that time, the club has won the competition twice and advanced to at least the semifinals on two other occasions. The club was founded in 1964 as Vilnius Statyba, with founder Antanas Paulauskas serving as head coach for more than a decade and leading the team towards prominence from the start. Statyba needed only two years to place second in the Lithuanian championship and in 1967 earned promotion to the former USSR's second division. By 1971, Statyba made its debut in USSR basketball's top tier, where it would stay for good after 1974. From the start, the club built a reputation for developing talented Lithuanian players. In 1979, Statyba surprised many when – led by Jonas Kazlauskas, Rimas Girskis and Aligmantas Pavilionis – it came in third in the Soviet championship. The team rode Sarunas Marciulionis to sixth place in 1986. Following the country's independence in 1990, Statyba finished second in the first two Lithuanian League seasons. Statyba remained one of the country's leading clubs until 1998 when it changed its name to Lietuvos Rytas. It made history in 2000 when it won the Lithuanian League to break a decade of domination by Zalgiris Kaunas and also reached the Saporta Cup semifinals as well as the Northern Europe Basketball League final that season. After another domestic crown in 2002, Rytas made its successful ULEB Cup debut in the 2003-04 campaign by advancing to the quarterfinals. The club truly made the big time by lifting the EuroCup trophy in 2005 after beating Makedonikos in the championship game behind Tyrone Nesby, Simas Jasaitis and finals MVP Robertas Javtokas. The win earned Rytas a ticket to the 2005-06 EuroLeague and in its debut, the team reached the Top 16 of Europe's marquee competition. Rytas also lifted the Baltic League and Lithuanian League trophies that season. Rytas was back in the ULEB Cup Final in 2007 and, though it lost to Real Madrid, earned its way back to the EuroLeague and successfully defended the Baltic League title. The team reached the EuroLeague Top 16 before having, in 2008-09, its best season ever with five trophies. Chuck Eidson was the 2008-09 EuroCup MVP and Marijonas Petravicius earned Final Eight MVP honors as Rytas rallied past Khimki Moscow Region to win its second continental trophy. Rytas added all four possible domestic titles for a true dream season. A year later, Rytas won the double in Lithuania and returned to the EuroLeague Top 16 in 2010-11. The club lost in the 2012 EuroCup Semifinals to Valencia Basket. Over the next six years, Rytas did not advance past the EuroCup eighthfinals and came up short of winning trophies, with the exception of the 2016 Lithuanian Cup. After falling short for two years, Rytas returned to the Lithuanian League finals in each of the last two seasons and won the Lithuanian Cup in 2019. The club also reached the EuroCup quarterfinals last season, its best result in the competition since 2012. Expect Rytas to keep fighting to live up to its high standards.