BC Prienai

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Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas
Vytautas Prienai–Birštonas logo
Leagues Lithuanian Basketball League
Baltic Basketball League
Founded 1994; 24 years ago (1994)
History Prienų bankas
(1994–1999)
Prienai
(1994–2007, 2012–2013, 2014–2015)
Rūdupis
(2007–2012)
TonyBet
(2013–2014)
Vytautas
(2015–present)
Arena Prienai Arena
Arena Capacity 1,500
Location Prienai, Lithuania
Team colors Navy blue and White
         
Main sponsor Big Baller Brand[1]
President Norbertas Pranckus
Head coach Virginijus Šeškus
Championships 1 Baltic League
1 NKL champions
2 LKF Cups
Website bcvytautas.lt
Uniforms

BC Prienai (Lithuanian: Krepšinio klubas Prienai), also known by the sponsor name BC Vytautas (About this sound listen ), is a professional basketball club based in Prienai and more recently taking up Birštonas. They play domestically in Lithuanian Basketball League and also compete in the Baltic Basketball League every year. During the 2008–09 season, then called Rūdupis they became the champion of the NKL and won the challenge match for a slot in the LKL. In their debut LKL season Rūdupis took seventh place, while next two seasons brought BC Prienai two bronze LKL medals. BC Prienai played in EuroCup 2011–12 with moderate success; the team managed to win 3 games out of 6, but nonetheless failed to qualify for the next stage. More recently, the team has become a strong competitor in domestic tournaments, more than once upsetting teams such as Žalgiris Kaunas and Lietuvos rytas Vilnius. In December 2017, in a highly publicized move, Vytautas signed American basketball players and brothers LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball.

History[edit]

1994–2010: Early years[edit]

The club was founded in 1994 as KK Prienų Taupomasis Bankas playing in the LKAL and were one of the top teams. They joined the NKL ever since its foundation in 2005. During this time period in the NKL, the team would change names as it seemed every season, Prienai had their ups and downs, such as going from third seed in their group to not making the playoffs next season, but the major victories were yet to come.

During 2008–09 season, then called Rūdupis, the club, for the first time in the club history, became NKL champions downing Meresta Pakruojis in Game 7 of the finals.[2] Because of that, BC Rūdupis got their slot in the Lithuanian Basketball League.

BC Prienai primary logo (1994–2015)

The 2009–10 season was Rūdupis' debut in the LKL. The club took seventh place that season as they lost first round of LKL playoffs to Lithuanian powerhouse Žalgiris Kaunas.

2010–2014: Turning heads[edit]

During the 2010–11 season, BC Rūdupis won the LKF Cup Bronze medals[3] and was only one step away from gold or silver medals as they lost a thriller against the legendary Žalgiris Kaunas 73–75,[4] but the surprises from BC Rūdupis in the 2010–11 season were not finished yet, as BC Rūdupis defeated Lithuanian Basketball League champions Lietuvos rytas Vilnius with result 96–82, during a LKL match at their home arena on 29 March 2011.[5] On 15 April 2011, BC Rūdupis signed a contract with Rolandas Alijevas until the end of the season.[6] In the LKL semi finals Rūdupis was not able to eliminate Lithuanian basketball powerhouse Lietuvos rytas Vilnius as they lost both matches (first match: 75–88,[7] second match: 69–96[8]). Rūdupis then played against Juventus in the LKL Bronze final, they won the first game at Prienai with a result of 79–65,[9] then won the second game, this time on the road in Utena with a result 98–73.[10] The third game took place in Prienai where Rūdupis won a thriller 84–83,[11] thus winning the series 3–0 and becoming Lithuanian Basketball League bronze medalists for the first time in the club's history.

Mindaugas Lukauskis, leader of TonyBet Prienai for the 2013–14 season

In 2011–12 season, the team played in the EuroCup competition, finishing 3rd in the group, though failing to qualify to the playoffs. They repeated as bronze medal winners, this time defeating Šiauliai 3–1.

The 2012–13 season was moderately successful for BC Prienai. The team played in the EuroCup, but again did not move past the group stage. The team also reached the BBL finals, and won the LKF Cup against Pieno žvaigždės Pasvalys. Despite home court advantage, Prienai lost to Neptūnas Klaipėda in the bronze medal series.

In the 2013–14 season, Lithuanian businessman Antanas Guoga sponsored the newly renamed BC TonyBet, the team once again won the LKF Cup when they pulled off a double upset, defeating Lietuvos rytas Vilnius in the finals after upsetting Žalgiris Kaunas in the semifinal. Prienai finished second in the LKL regular season, which even included a blowout win against Žalgiris Kaunas 101–83 at home. BC TonyBet made it to the semifinals for the fourth consecutive year, this time with a chance to qualify to the LKL finals for the first time ever, but lost the series 0–2 to Neptūnas Klaipėda. In the bronze medal series, the team lost to Lietuvos rytas. Apart from the disappointing finish, it was one of the most successful seasons in club history.

2014–present: Setbacks & a new direction[edit]

The 2014–15 season was more of a write-off, as it started a rebuilding phase for the team. The team, having lost their main sponsor, longtime coach and much of the previous season's roster, played poorly. The team barely avoided relegation in the LKL, with a 23–game losing streak plummeting the team to the bottom of the standings. The team played better in the BBL, reaching the playoffs. Because of poor play, the team failed to qualify for the LKF Cup, losing it to Žalgiris Kaunas after their successful previous two seasons.

Vytautas Šulskis joined Vytautas Prienai-Birštonas in 2015.

In the 2015 off-season, BC Prienai announced a sponsorship deal with Birštonas mineral water company, will be changing their name to BC Birštono Vytautas for sponsorship reasons. Having proper sponsorship, the club hopes to return to their competitive ways in the upcoming season. It was later corrected that the name will be BC Vytautas and that the club is going to be shared with the neighboring city of Birštonas, which hopefully would also expand the fanbase. Furthermore, on 29 July 2015, the club was invited to join the 2015–16 FIBA Europe Cup tournament, which is the alternative version of the 2nd tier European tournament EuroCup, organized by FIBA.[12] Although, just before the drawing ceremony, it was announced that 56 teams will participate instead of 64 and Vytautas is not one of these 56.[13] In this off-season BC Vytautas brought back former players Povilas Butkevičius, Vaidas Čepukaitis and Laimonas Kisielius, also resigning Prienai natives Domantas Šeškus, Paulius Ivanauskas and bringing in major reinforcement with Šarūnas Vasiliauskas, Vilmantas Dilys, Vytautas Šulskis, Gytis Sirutavičius. On 16 September 2015, Prienai announced their new logo and color change to blue and white as part of the sponsorship deal, though blue has been a traditional sports team color in the Prienai–Birštonas area.

On 30 December 2015, Prienai native Edvinas Šeškus was cleared to play for Vytautas, joining his father the head coach and his older brother Domantas. Because of injuries ruining the rotation, on 26 February 2016, Vytautas signed Tauras Jogėla. In the BBL playoffs, they lost to Nevėžis Kėdainiai in an upset. Vytautas finished the LKL regular season with a 19–17 record, but lost 2–3 in the quarterfinals to Juventus Utena.

Before the 2016–17 season, the team signed longtime Lithuanian national team player Tomas Delininkaitis. In addition to the LKL, the team also played in the FIBA Europe Cup. They easily finished 1st in the regular season group, defeating Mureș and TLÜ/Kalev Tallinn. In the second round, the team finished second, losing only to Telekom Baskets Bonn. The loss at home, however, cost the team a place in the playoffs. BC Vytautas then entered the BBL playoffs, as one of the potential favorites to win. They easily defeated Pärnu in the first round, before defeating Latvian champions Valmiera in the quarterfinals and Estonian champions Kalev/Cramo Tallinn in the semifinals. In the finals, Vytautas faced LKL rival Pieno žvaigždės Pasvalys. After losing the first game at home 85–88, they won the away game 89–74, winning the series 174–162 on aggregate, and winning their first BBL championship. Injuries started hurting the team, and in the quarterfinals Vytautas lost the series 0–3 to Lietkabelis Panevėžys.

Arrival of Ball brothers (2018)[edit]

Vytautas started the 2017–18 season poorly by failing to qualify for the 2017–18 Basketball Champions League season.[14] The team was also performing poorly in the national competition by achieving only 4 victories out of 13 games in the 2017–18 LKL season. Consequently, the interest of fans to the team was rapidly decreasing every day.[15] However, on 11 December 2017, the team has signed LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball, the younger brothers of Los Angeles Lakers player Lonzo Ball, both of whom reportedly agreed to join the team in the beginning of January 2018.[16] Team managers described it as instant success.[17] In early January 2018, Vytautas pulled out of the Baltic Basketball League season, instead hosting the newly formed Big Baller Brand Challenge Games to give the Ball brothers more playing time against weaker teams, most of which played in lower leagues.[18] On January 23, 2018, the team announced that the Big Baller Brand was an official sponsor until the end of the season.[19] On the same day, the team temporarily appointed LaVar Ball, owner of the brand and the famous father of the Ball brothers, as assistant coach for a match-up with Dzūkija in the Big Baller Brand Challenge Games.[20] On January 28, for the team's concluding exhibition game against Jonava, Ball was named head coach for the final game.[21]

Players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Vytautas Prienai-Birštonas roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt. Age
SF 7 Lithuania Aleksandravičius, Bartas 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 73 kg (161 lb) 18 – (1999-07-20)20 July 1999
PG 1 United States Ball, LaMelo 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 70 kg (154 lb) 16 – (2001-08-22)22 August 2001
SG 3 United States Ball, LiAngelo 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 97 kg (214 lb) 19 – (1998-11-24)24 November 1998
C 55 Haiti Bristol, Kervin 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 102 kg (225 lb) 29 – (1988-09-04)4 September 1988
PG 16 Albania Broadus, Rashaun 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) 87 kg (192 lb) 33 – (1984-08-05)5 August 1984
PF 11 Lithuania Dimša, Egidijus 2.05 m (6 ft 9 in) 95 kg (209 lb) 32 – (1985-04-01)1 April 1985
SG 33 Lithuania Dimša, Tomas 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 24 – (1994-01-02)2 January 1994
G 10 Lithuania Ivanauskas, Paulius 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) 79 kg (174 lb) 30 – (1987-04-24)24 April 1987
SF 21 Lithuania Linkevičius, Martynas 1.97 m (6 ft 6 in) 95 kg (209 lb) 32 – (1985-12-08)8 December 1985
PG 17 Ukraine Lukashov, Denys Injured 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 28 – (1989-04-30)30 April 1989
PG 5 Lithuania Maceina, Gediminas (C) 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 74 kg (163 lb) 33 – (1984-08-28)28 August 1984
F/C 22 Lithuania Miniotas, Regimantas 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 90 kg (198 lb) 21 – (1996-03-14)14 March 1996
F 31 Lithuania Sinica, Justas 2.03 m (6 ft 8 in) 82 kg (181 lb) 32 – (1985-05-31)31 May 1985
SG 9 Lithuania Šeškus, Edvinas 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 80 kg (176 lb) 22 – (1995-03-10)10 March 1995
G 6 Lithuania Žukauskas, Eigirdas Injured 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in) 98 kg (216 lb) 25 – (1992-06-03)3 June 1992
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

Legend
  • (C) Team captain
  • Injured Injured

Updated: 8 February 2018

Depth chart[edit]

Pos. Starting 5 Bench 1 Bench 2 Bench 3
C Kervin Bristol
PF Regimantas Miniotas Egidijus Dimša
SF Justas Sinica LiAngelo Ball Martynas Linkevičius Bartas Aleksandravičius
SG Tomas Dimša Edvinas Šeškus Paulius Ivanauskas Eigirdas Zukauskas Injured
PG Rashaun Broadus LaMelo Ball Gediminas Maceina Denys Lukashov Injured

Squad changes for/during the 2017–18 season[edit]

In[edit]

No. Position Player


11 Lithuania PF Egidijus Dimša (from BC Pieno žvaigždės)
31 Lithuania F Justas Sinica (from Caen Basket Calvados)
6 Lithuania G Eigirdas Žukauskas (from Saint-Chamond Basket)
7 Lithuania SF Bartas Aleksandravičius (from VILNIAUS KM II)
5 Lithuania PG Gediminas Maceina (from BC Vytis)
9 Lithuania SG Edvinas Šeškus (from KK Pärnu)
17 Ukraine PG Denys Lukashov (from BC Enisey)
3 United States SG LiAngelo Ball (from UCLA Bruins)
1 United States PG LaMelo Ball (from Chino Hills High School)
55 Haiti C Kervin Bristol (from BC Budivelnyk)
16 Albania PG Rashaun Broadus (from St. John's Edge)

Out[edit]

No. Position Player



Lithuania SG Arnas Beručka (to Lietuvos rytas Vilnius)
Lithuania C Laurynas Birutis (to BC Šiauliai)
Lithuania PG Vytenis Čižauskas (to BC Tartu)
Lithuania PG Tomas Delininkaitis (to BC Neptūnas)
Lithuania F Saulius Kulvietis (to Joventut Badalona)
Lithuania C Mindaugas Kupšas (to BC Juventus)
Lithuania F Vytenis Lipkevičius (to s.Oliver Würzburg)
Lithuania G Domantas Šeškus (to Cognac Basket Ball)
Lithuania PF Artūras Valeika (to CSM Oradea)
Lithuania PG Kristupas Žemaitis (to BC Šiauliai)

Season by season[edit]

Season Tier League Pos. Baltic League LKF Cup European competitions
2002–03 2 LKAL 3rd
2003–04 2 LKAL 6th
2004–05 2 LKAL 12th
2005–06 2 NKL 4th
2006–07 2 NKL 7th
2007–08 2 NKL 9th
2008–09 2 NKL 1st
2009–10 1 LKL 7th Challenge Cup 2nd Second round
2010–11 1 LKL 3rd Elite Division 6th Third place
2011–12 1 LKL 3rd Elite Division 8th Fourth place 2 Eurocup RS 3–3
2012–13 1 LKL 4th Elite Division 2nd Champion 2 Eurocup RS 2–4
2013–14 1 LKL 4th Elite Division 2nd Champion
2014–15 1 LKL 9th Round of 16
2015–16 1 LKL 5th Round of 16 Fourth place
2016–17 1 LKL 6th Champion Fourth place 4 FIBA Europe Cup R2 7–3
2017–18 1 LKL Withdrew 3 Champions League QR1 1–1
Detailed information of former rosters and results.[22][23][24][25]

Notable players[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team eligibility at FIBA sanctioned events. Players may hold other non-FIBA nationality not displayed.

Notable coaches[edit]

Sponsors[edit]

The club is very closely related with the Royal Spa Residence in Birštonas. All of the team members are living there and the season closing events are also taking place there.[26][27][28] In January 2018, weeks after Vytautas signed brothers LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball, their father's sports apparel company Big Baller Brand was named an official team sponsor.[19]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "„Vytautas" baigia atsiskaityti ir su dabartiniais, ir su buvusiais žaidėjais". BasketNews.lt. February 1, 2018. Retrieved February 1, 2018. 
  2. ^ "NKL čempionais tapo "Rūdupio" krepšininkai (foto)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  3. ^ ""Rūdupis" sutriuškino "Neptūną" ir iškovojo LKF taurės turnyro bronzą". Delfi.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "LKF taurės pusfinalyje "Žalgiris" tik paskutinėmis akimirkomis palaužė "Rūdupį" (nuotraukos)". 15min.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "LKL: Prienų "Rūdupis" sensacingai įveikė "Lietuvos rytą"". 15min.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Pupininkas, Martynas. ""Rūdupis" pasiekė susitarimą su Alijevu". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Tritaškius fantastiškai metęs "Lietuvos rytas" pirmajame LKL pusfinalyje palaužė "Rūdupį"". 15min.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Miklovas, Jonas. ""Lietuvos rytas" be didesnių problemų žengė į LKL finalą (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Miklovas, Jonas. "Pirmąjį mūšį dėl bronzos laimėjo "Rūdupis" (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Pupininkas, Martynas. "LKL mažasis finalas: "Rūdupis" sudavė dar vieną smūgį "Juventus" ekipai (video, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Miklovas, Jonas. "LKL bronza pirmą kartą istorijoje atiteko "Rūdupiui" (video, foto, komentarai, statistika)". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "FIBA Europos taurės dalyvių sąraše – penki Lietuvos klubai". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 29 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "FIBA paskutinę akimirką iš turnyro dalyvių sąrašo išbraukė "Lietkabelį" ir "Vytautą"". BasketNews.lt. Retrieved 3 August 2015. 
  14. ^ "Namie olandų sutriuškintas "Vytautas" pasitraukė iš FIBA Čempionų lygos atrankos". DELFI. Retrieved 21 September 2017. 
  15. ^ "Prienų–Birštono Vytautas - LKL.LT". LKL.lt. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  16. ^ "OFICIALU: "Vytauto" gretose – broliai Ball'ai". bcvytautas.lt (in Lithuanian). 12 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  17. ^ Stalgaitis, Vilius. "Rankomis trinantis "Vytautas": "Jau dabar matome akivaizdžią naudą"". BasketNews.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 12 December 2017. 
  18. ^ Goodman, Jeff (January 6, 2018). "Lithuanian team schedules 'Big Baller Brand Challenge' games". ESPN. Retrieved January 20, 2018. 
  19. ^ a b "Prie "Vytauto" Klubo Remeju Prisijunge "Big Baller Brand"". BCVytautas.lt. January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018. 
  20. ^ "LaVar Ball to be assistant coach for LiAngelo and LaMelo's team for friendly in Lithuania". ESPN. January 23, 2018. Retrieved January 23, 2018. 
  21. ^ Daniels, Tim (January 28, 2018). "LaVar Ball to Coach LiAngelo, LaMelo and Vytautas vs. Jonava". Bleacher Report. Retrieved January 28, 2018. 
  22. ^ "Vytautas". LKL.lt (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 3 July 2017. 
  23. ^ "PRIENAI". BBL.net. Retrieved 3 July 2017. 
  24. ^ "BC Prienai". www.eurocupbasketball.com. Retrieved 3 July 2017. 
  25. ^ "Prienu-Birstono Vytautas". FIBA.com. Retrieved 3 July 2017. 
  26. ^ "Prienų-Birštono "Vytauto" krepšininkai apsigyveno viešbutyje "Royal SPA Residence"". kvitrina.lt (in Lithuanian). 19 August 2015. Retrieved 19 August 2015. 
  27. ^ ""Vytauto" sezono uždarymas "Royal SPA Residence" (Foto) - kvitrina.lt · Prienų ir Birštono naujienų portalas". kvitrina.lt · Prienų ir Birštono naujienų portalas (in Lithuanian). 27 May 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2016. 
  28. ^ "Home - Royal Spa Residence". Royal-spa.lt. Retrieved 14 December 2017. 

External links[edit]