Lietkabelis Panevezys is back for a second consecutive season in the 7DAYS EuroCup after collecting just two victories in 2020-21. Head coach Nenad Canak is back at the helm and the roster has been shaken up as the Lithuanian side faces a tough challenge this season.
Canak will rely heavily on the tandem of Dovydas Giedraitis and Nikola Radicevic in the backcourt. Giedraitis will be making his EuroCup debut as he plays on loan for Lietkabelis from Spanish side Movistar Estudiantes. Point guard Radicevic started last season with Promitheas Patras and played in the EuroCup before finishing the season as a leader for Polish club Trefl Sopot. The Serbian playmaker also brings with him some experience in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague from his time with Crvena Zvezda mts Belgrade. The backcourt also will have Karolis Gietraitis, who played in the EuroCup with Rytas Vilnius in 2019-20, and Kristupas Zemaitis, who will be playing in the competition for the first time.
One of the leaders of the frontcourt will be returning in swingman Vytenis Lipkevicius, who played five years in the EuroLeague with Zalgiris Kaunas before appearing in the EuroCup for the first time in 2020-21. Greek forward Panagiotis Kalaitzakis is back as well after a strong campaign and gives the team a reliable outside threat. There is also the talented duo of Tadas Vaiciunas and Grantas Vasiliauskas to help. The leader of the low post will be Djordje Gagic, who can still dominate games at times at 30 years of age and really excelled when he rejoined forces with Cenak, who was his coach for two seasons at Partizan NIS Belgrade. Power forward Gediminas Orelik has a history of success in the EuroCup, three times averaging in double figures in scoring for the season. Kaspars Berzins meanwhile gives the team a massive presence in the paint at 2.13 meters and Gravrielius Maldunas rounds out the frontcourt.
PLAYER TO WATCH
The 2021-22 season will not only be a homecoming for Dovydas Giedraitis but it will also be a debut as the guard will be playing in the EuroCup for the first time. The 21-year-old Giedraitis left Lithuania for Spain in 2017 to play in the capital for Estudiantes. He made his Spanish League debut at just 18 years, 7 months and 14 days in March 2019. The sharpshooter played 16 games in the league last season and averaged 6.4 points while hitting 37.0 percent of his shots from long range. Giedraitis, who has a good basketball IQ and understands how to find open spots, will be returning to his homeland on loan from Estudiantes and he will be ready to show off just what he can do.
Lithuania is well known for having great basketball fans and Lietkabelis missed the support last season when it struggled to collect just two wins in the EuroCup. Having fans back in the arena will surely help the team. Lietkablis does not have a particularly deep roster so any injuries would likely have a major impact. Among the team's keys to success will be playing smart and disciplined basketball at both ends while also hitting a high percentage of three-pointers.