Basketball Club Žalgiris (Lithuanian: Krepšinio klubas Žalgiris) is a professional basketball club based in Kaunas, Lithuania. They compete domestically in the Lithuanian Basketball League (Lietuvos krepšinio lyga) and internationally as a long-term licensed EuroLeague team. Since the 2011–12 season, Žalgiris has played its home games in Žalgiris Arena in the New Town district of Kaunas.

Žalgiris Kaunas
2023–24 BC Žalgiris season
Žalgiris Kaunas logo
NicknameŽaliai balti (The Green-Whites)
LeaguesLithuanian Basketball League
ArenaŽalgiris Arena
LocationKaunas, Lithuania
Team colorsDartmouth green, white
PresidentPaulius Jankūnas
Team managerMindaugas Kvedaras
Head coachAndrea Trinchieri
Team captainEdgaras Ulanovas
OwnershipPaulius Motiejūnas (75%)
Tom Okman (25%)
Affiliation(s)BC Žalgiris-2
BC Žalgiris-3
Championships1 EuroLeague
1 Saporta Cup
1 Intercontinental Cup
5 Soviet Union Leagues
1 Soviet Union Cup
1 North European League
24 Lithuanian Leagues
6 King Mindaugas Cups
5 Lithuanian Cups
5 Baltic Leagues
9 Lithuanian SSR Championships
1 Stepas Butautas Cup
1 Baltic Cup
1 Gomelsky Cup
2 Gloria Cups
1 Torneo Città di Caorle
1 Titans trophy
Retired numbers3 (5, 11, 13)

Žalgiris is the most decorated basketball club in the country, having won 24 Lithuanian Basketball League championships, five Soviet Union National League championships (the second most behind CSKA Moscow), and one EuroLeague championship. Many Lithuanian basketball legends have played for Žalgiris throughout the club's history, including Arvydas Sabonis, Modestas Paulauskas and Šarūnas Jasikevičius. Eight of the fifteen Lithuanian basketball players to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) have played for Žalgiris or were part of the Žalgiris youth program at one point in their careers (Arvydas Sabonis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Donatas Motiejūnas, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Darius Songaila, Martynas Andriuškevičius, Arnoldas Kulboka, and Ignas Brazdeikis).

The club's name commemorates the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War's Battle of Žalgiris, also known as the Battle of Grunwald, in which the joint forces of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and Kingdom of Poland defeated the Teutonic Order in one of medieval Europe's largest battles. Žalgiris and Grunwald translate to "green wood" in Lithuanian and German respectively.

History edit

1944–1970: Early success edit

BC Žalgiris was formed in 1944.[1] The team was named ASK from 1945 to 1947, after which it was renamed to SKIF from 1947–1949. Beginning in 1950, the team was renamed Žalgiris. The team quickly rose to prominence, winning the Soviet Union's top-tier USSR Premier Basketball League twice in 1947 and 1951, as well as multiple domestic Lithuanian championships. In the following years, the club won two silver medals of the USSR league in 1949 and 1952, and four bronze medals from 1953 to 1956. Žalgiris also won the USSR Basketball Cup in 1953. The team at the time was led by Stepas Butautas, Vytautas Kulakauskas, Justinas Lagunavičius, Kazimieras Petkevičius, and later, by Stasys Stonkus and Algirdas Lauritėnas. In the 1960s, the team's play declined, and many new young players joined the team, such as Modestas Paulauskas, Romualdas Venzbergas, Henrikas Giedraitis, Algirdas Linkevičius and Sergejus Jovaiša.

1970–1990: Among the elite in the USSR edit

Žalgiris became the dominant club in Soviet Union and Europe when they added new talents Valdemaras Chomičius and Rimas Kurtinaitis to the team, along with coach Vladas Garastas. The team won bronze medals in the Soviet Union championship in 1971, 1973 and 1978.[2] In 1980, Žalgiris won the silver medals, and debuted in the 1980–81 FIBA European Cup Winners' Cup the next season. Their biggest addition, though, was 17-year-old Arvydas Sabonis, who debuted with the club in 1981 at 209 centimetres (82 in) and grew another 12 centimetres (4.7 in) in the next couple years. Sabonis soon became known for his versatility, being able to play defense, assist his teammates, shoot three-pointers, and dominate inside the paint.

During the 1980s, Žalgiris won three consecutive Soviet Union National League championships from 1985 to 1987, beating CSKA Moscow (English: Central Sports Club of Army) in the finals all three years.[3] In 1985, they reached the Saporta Cup final, but lost to FC Barcelona. Despite the loss, Žalgiris participated in EuroLeague the next year as the Soviet Union champions, reaching the finals and losing to the rival Cibona. Žalgiris was emerging as one of the top clubs in Europe at the time.

In the mid-1980s, the rivalry between Žalgiris Kaunas and CSKA Moscow served as a major inspiration for the Lithuanian national revival, especially when they played in Kaunas Sports Hall. It contributed to the emergence of the Sąjūdis national movement and the re-establishment of state independence.[4] In 1987, however, Žalgiris suffered a setback when star player Sabonis suffered a torn achilles tendon. Three months later, he tore it again, causing him to miss most of the 1987–88 season.[5] That season, Žalgiris won a silver medal, losing to CSKA Moscow in the Soviet League finals. The next season, Žalgiris managed to reach the European Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals and won a silver medal in Soviet League, losing a dramatic finals to Stroitel Kiev.

Just before the start of the 1989–90 season, Žalgiris lost Sabonis, Kurtinaitis, Jovaiša, Chomičius and head coach Garastas, as the Iron Curtain that had barred Lithuanian basketball talent from becoming internationals had been lifted.[6] In the 1989–90 season, Žalgiris reached the Clubs Cup Winners' Cup semi-finals, where they lost to Real Madrid.

1990–1999: Domination in the Lithuanian Basketball League and reaching the top of the EuroLeague edit

After the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania, Žalgiris left the USSR championship. Over the next few seasons, Žalgiris won Lithuanian championships in 1991, 1992 and 1993, and the LKF Cup in 1990. They won their first LKL title in 1994, beating Atletas Kaunas 3–1 in a four-game series. Over the following two years, Žalgiris again dominated LKL tournaments, beating Atletas Kaunas 3–0 in 1995 and 3–2 (after being down 0–2 in the series) in 1996, and had success participating in the 1995–96 FIBA European Cup when Rimas Kurtinaitis returned to play for his home team. In 1997, Žalgiris again won the LKL championship, beating Žemaitijos Olimpas 3–0 in the finals, and reached round 16 in the Saporta Cup, losing to Paris Basket Racing. Players including Darius Lukminas, Gintaras Einikis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Dainius Adomaitis, and Darius Maskoliūnas played for the club during this period, coached by Jonas Kazlauskas.

Jonas Kazlauskas, coach of the 1998–99 EuroLeague champions.

Žalgiris enjoyed its greatest success as a club during the 1997–98 and 1998–99 seasons. They were coached by Jonas Kazlauskas with a new generation of Lithuanian talent including Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Adomaitis, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Tomas Masiulis, and Mindaugas Žukauskas, and experienced foreign players Franjo Arapović and Ennis Whatley. The team defeated Stefanel Milano 82–67 in the 1998 FIBA Saporta Cup final in Belgrade. Saulius Štombergas scored 35 points in the final. Žalgiris also won a fifth-consecutive LKL title, this time against Atletas Kaunas.

In the 1998–99 season, Žalgiris made it to the EuroLeague Final Four for the first time in the club's history, and were crowned champions after defeating Olympiacos and Kinder Bologna in the semi-final and the final, respectively. Tyus Edney was named EuroLeague Final Four MVP. Žalgiris also won LKL and North European Basketball League (NEBL) titles that season.

1999–2004 edit

The year after winning the EuroLeague, Žalgiris suffered one of its worst seasons. The club was eliminated after the group stage in the EuroLeague, finishing third in the NEBL and losing the LKL finals to Lietuvos Rytas for the first time.[7] In the 2000–01 season, the team reached the new EuroLeague playoffs, but lost to AEK. Žalgiris won the LKL championship, beating Lietuvos Rytas 3–2. The 2001–02 season was again disappointing, as the team was eliminated in the EuroLeague after the group stage and lost the LKL championship. In the 2002–03 season, they were again eliminated in the EuroLeague playoffs, but achieved the LKL championship, beating Lietuvos Rytas 4–2.

Sabonis became the principal owner of the club in 2003, after playing for many years in the Spanish ACB League and the North American National Basketball Association (NBA). He also played for the club for the 2003–04 season,[8] winning EuroLeague Regular Season and Top 16 MVP. Žalgiris almost made it to the EuroLeague Final Four, but were stopped by Maccabi Tel Aviv, who tied the game with Derrick Sharp's last second three-pointer at the end of regulation and went on to beat Žalgiris in overtime.[9] The season ended on a high note, as Žalgiris swept Lietuvos Rytas 4–0 in the LKL championship.

2004–2009: Post-Sabonis era edit

After the departure of Sabonis at the conclusion of the 2003–04 season, Žalgiris faced a series of ups and downs.[10] In the 2004–05 season, mainstays Tanoka Beard, Mindaugas Timinskas, Dainius Šalenga and new addition Robert Pack enabled Žalgiris to have a respectable season.[11] In the EuroLeague, Žalgiris finished the regular season with an 8–6 record, including wins on the road against heavy favorites Maccabi Tel Aviv and FC Barcelona. However, in the Top 16 phase, the team entered a long slump and finished with an 0–6 record.[12] Žalgiris recovered on the domestic front, easily defeating ULEB Cup winner Lietuvos Rytas in the LKL finals with a 4–0 sweep, and also won the inaugural Baltic Basketball League (BBL) championship, beating Lietuvos Rytas in the finals 64–60.[13][14]

Dainius Šalenga dedicated most of his career for Žalgiris

In the 2005–06 season, the team suffered many changes. Mindaugas Timinskas, Dainius Šalenga and Robert Pack all departed the team, so Žalgiris built a younger team while signing Ed Cota to return. With the emergence of Darjuš Lavrinovič, Žalgiris started the season solidly, finishing the EuroLeague regular season with a 9–5 record.[15] Off-court, Žalgiris had many issues, resulting in a huge slump for the team. They ended the top 16 phase with another 0–6 record and lost both the LKL and BBL titles to Lietuvos Rytas.[16][17] The lone bright spot became the play of emerging point guard Mantas Kalnietis, who was signed both as a replacement for the released Cota and due to very poor play from new point guard and longtime NBA player Kenny Anderson.[18][19][20]

DeJuan Collins, one of the team's leaders in the 2007–08 season.

Žalgiris had a new coach for the 2006–07 season, Ainars Bagatskis, but suffered a terrible EuroLeague regular season. After Ainars Bagatskis was replaced by assistant coach Rimantas Grigas and the signing of new point guard DeJuan Collins, Žalgiris won the newly established LKF Cup by beating Lietuvos Rytas. Žalgiris also beat Lietuvos Rytas in the LKL finals.

Before the 2007–08 season, Žalgiris signed longtime EuroLeague player Marcus Brown. Žalgiris also played against NBA teams for the first time. The team had a successful regular season in the EuroLeague, finishing with an 8–6 record, but suffered another disappointment in the top 16, finishing with a 1–5 record. Žalgiris also won the LKF Cup for the second year in a row, beating Lietuvos Rytas 83–72 in the finals.[citation needed] In the BBL finals, Žalgiris defeated Lietuvos Rytas 86–84 in the finals on a last-second shot by Collins. Žalgiris retained the LKL title, beating Lietuvos Rytas 4–1 in the LKL finals in which Brown was named MVP.

The 2008–09 season started on a very high note, with contract extensions for Jonas Mačiulis and Loren Woods, retaining leader Marcus Brown and signing of new point guard Willie Deane, who replaced the departed DeJuan Collins.[21] However, financial difficulties lead to poor play from the team and the firing of coach Grigas, who was replaced by longtime player and assistant coach Gintaras Krapikas.[22] Willie Deane was soon released, in large part due to his poor performance in the EuroLeague, which led to a seven-game losing streak.[23] The team recovered under point guard Mantas Kalnietis, and finished the EuroLeague regular season with a 2–8 record, missing the top 16.[24] Despite growing financial difficulties, and the departure of Loren Woods, the team made the LKL and BBL finals, as well as the LKF Cup finals.[25] Despite this, this was the most Žalgiris could accomplish, as they lost to Lietuvos Rytas.[26][27] Jonas Mačiulis, who became the team leader during the season, left after the season ended.[28]

2009–2013: Vladimir Romanov era edit

Vladimir Romanov, the team's owner from 2009 to 2013.

During the 2008–09 season, Žalgiris faced significant financial difficulties. In 2009, Sabonis sold most of his stake to the local Ūkio banko investment group (ŪBIG), headed by Vladimir Romanov, who ended up controlling a 75% stake in the club. Sabonis retained 21.5% ownership of the club, 3% was owned by a minority group, and the remaining 0.5% was owned by the Kaunas municipality.[29]

In the 2009–10 season, Romanov became unpopular among Žalgiris fans. After the departures of Jonas Mačiulis and Paulius Jankūnas, the team extended the contract of Marcus Brown and also signed Martynas Pocius, who quickly became one of the best players for the team.[30] The team also re-signed point guard Mantas Kalnietis, who turned down an offer from Benetton Treviso.[31][32] The team started the season by winning the new BBL Cup against Lietuvos Rytas. However, subsequent poor performances led to head coach Krapikas being replaced by former Lithuanian national team coach Ramūnas Butautas, who led the team to the EuroLeague top 16

Justin Dentmon, leader of the team for the 2013–14 season

phase with a 3–7 regular season record. After the team entered a slump, Romanov controversially fired Butautas, replacing him with assistant coach and former captain Darius Maskoliūnas. Under Maskoliūnas, Žalgiris came its closest to the EuroLeague Top 8 phase, finishing with a 2–4 record.[33] Žalgiris won back the BBL title by beating Lietuvos Rytas in the finals, but lost the LKL finals to Rytas by 4–3. Romanov had fired coach Maskoliūnas during this series, leading to speculation that Romanov had intentionally lost the finals to allow Lietuvos Rytas to qualify for the EuroLeague season. The season is widely considered the most controversial in club history.[34][35]

Before the 2010–11 season, Žalgiris re-signed Paulius Jankūnas and DeJuan Collins, signed Tomas Delininkaitis, and brought in Serbian coach Aleksandar Petrović as the new head coach. The season began with Žalgiris playing very strongly, but after a slump Romanov fired Petrović. They qualified for the Top 16 phase only in the final games, with a 5–5 record. After a controversial departure from center Mirza Begić,[citation needed] the slump continued under new coach Ilias Zouros, with a 1–5 record in the top 16 phase. However, after the recovery of Marcus Brown (who was injured for most of the season), Žalgiris won back the LKF Cup from Lietuvos Rytas and defeated VEF Riga in the BBL finals. In the LKL finals, Žalgiris easily defeated Lietuvos Rytas 4–1, regaining the LKL title for the first time since 2008.[citation needed]

Due to the NBA lockout that impacted the 2011–12 season, Žalgiris signed former Toronto Raptors wing Sonny Weems and former Denver Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson.[36][37] The team also re-signed long time fan-favorite Marko Popović.[38] and signed longtime Lietuvos Rytas player and former Lithuanian National team captain Robertas Javtokas as center. However, the season started very poorly for Žalgiris. Hoping to end the slump, Romanov fired coach Ilias Zouros and replaced him with former Lietuvos Rytas head coach Aleksandar Trifunović.[39][40] Despite initial improvement, as the team finishing the EuroLeague regular season with a 4–6 record and a trip to the top 16, the slump continued and the team's EuroLeague season ended quickly.[41] After Ty Lawson left the team, Mantas Kalnietis became a true leader for Žalgiris and played his best season yet.[42] The team slowly recovered, winning the LKF Cup.[43] After being eliminated in the VTB playoffs, Žalgiris made the BBL Final Four, winning against Lietuvos Rytas in the finals despite losing leader Sonny Weems (who was released due to injury) and DeJuan Collins (who was released due to failing a drug test).[44][45] With very solid play from Marko Popovič and Tomas Delininkaitis, Žalgiris retained the LKL title, defeating Lietuvos Rytas in the finals 4–1.[46] The club had achieved a second consecutive 'triple crown' of Lithuanian League, Lithuanian Cup and Baltic Cup.[47]

Rimantas Kaukėnas, one of the best players from the 2012–13 season.

For the 2012–13 season, Žalgiris signed Lithuanian national team players Rimantas Kaukėnas, Darjuš Lavrinovič and Kšyštof Lavrinovič; Unicaja Malaga star Tremmell Darden; and point guard Oliver Lafayette.[48][49][50] The season began with Žalgiris winning the newly established LKF SuperCup against Lietuvos Rytas. Early in the season, Mantas Kalnietis left the team and was replaced by Ibrahim Jaaber. Under new coach Joan Plaza, Žalgiris had their best EuroLeague start with five consecutive wins. They finished at the top of their group for the first time in 13 years, with an 8–2 record. In their 76–66 home victory against CSKA Moscow, Žalgiris broke their attendance record, with 15,812 spectators.[51] In January 2013, Jaaber departed from the team due to personal reasons and was replaced by Donnie McGrath in February. In the coming months, financial troubles returned to the club, which led to the departure of Darden. The crisis coincided with the ongoing collapse of Ūkio Bankas. The bank's main shareholder Vladimir Romanov, who also owned the majority of shares of Žalgiris and was the club's president, abruptly left the country and flew to Russia in early March 2013, abandoning his stake in the club. On 20 March 2013, vice president Paulius Motiejūnas was named the team director. Despite the financial and management struggles, Žalgiris finished the top 16 stage with a 6–8 record, the best in club history, but narrowly missed the playoffs. Žalgiris also won the group stage in the VTB United League. In May, Žalgiris won their third straight LKL title, sweeping Lietuvos Rytas 4–0 in the finals.[52] After winning the LKL title, Žalgiris competed in the VTB United League playoffs, defeating Nizhny Novgorod in the quarterfinals but losing to Lokomotiv Kuban in the semi-finals. Despite the loss, Žalgiris was awarded the bronze medal for the first time since 2010.[53]

2013–2016: A new direction edit

After the loss of team owner Vladimir Romanov and the departure of head coach Joan Plaza, Žalgiris rehired Ilias Zouros as head coach for the 2013–14 season. Žalgiris left the VTB United League because of the changes in the EuroLeague format that meant that the teams who did not qualify for the top 16 would have a chance to play in the EuroCup playoffs.

Žalgiris signed Justin Dentmon[54] and Šarūnas Jasikevičius to one-year deals.[55] After a poor start to the season, Zouros was fired as head coach and replaced by Saulius Štombergas.[56][57] Žalgiris made the top 16 for the fifth consecutive time (with a 5–5 record). However, Žalgiris began to struggle in the LKL. The top 16 proved to be a difficult stage, with Žalgiris losing many games by 5 points or less (a 2–12 record overall).[58] After a few losses in the LKF Cup and the LKL, Štombergas resigned and was replaced by Gintaras Krapikas as interim head coach.[59] In the last week of top 16 play at home, Žalgiris beat Spanish champions Real Madrid. Justin Dentmon scored 36 points in that game, the most by a Žalgiris player in modern EuroLeague,[60] and Dentmon also made 74 three-pointers during the season (a EuroLeague record since 2000).[61]

After a loss to Lietuvos rytas in the final LKL regular season game, Žalgiris entered the playoffs as the fourth seed, the worst in club history. They faced Lietuvos rytas again in the semi-finals, the first time in 15 years that they did not meet in the final round. Žalgiris advanced to the finals against Neptūnas Klaipėda, taking the series 4–2 and winning their fourth consecutive LKL championship.[62]

Artūras Milaknis was one of the finest three-point specialists in Europe during the 2014–15 season.

During the 2014–15 preseason, Žalgiris made significant changes to the squad, replacing Justin Dentmon with Maalik Wayns, who was in turn replaced by Will Cherry.[63] Žalgiris also signed Darius Songaila from rivals Lietuvos Rytas and James Anderson from the NBA.[64][65] Šarūnas Jasikevičius retired and became an assistant coach, and more young players were brought to the team.[66] Young point guard Lukas Lekavičius was the main bright spot as the team began LKL play. In the EuroLeague, a 5–5 record sent Žalgiris to the top 16 phase where the team finished with a 5–9 record.[67] In February, Žalgiris won the LKF Cup for the first time in three years.[68] Žalgiris finished the LKL regular season in dominating fashion, with 12 straight wins,[69] and they defeated Lietuvos rytas in the finals. This win was the club's fifth consecutive LKL title and their 17th overall.[70]

Žalgiris had a total of seven players who competed in EuroBasket 2015.[71] They finished the off-season by signing Ian Vougioukas at center.[72] Žalgiris finished the 2015–16 EuroLeague regular season with a 5–5 record and qualified for the top 16 phase for the seventh consecutive season.[73] After a poor start to the top 16, head coach Krapikas was replaced by Šarūnas Jasikevičius, but injuries to Javtokas and the departure of Kalnietis lead the team to a huge slump and a loss to Lietuvos Rytas in the King Mindaugas Cup final.[74] After strong criticism of the team management for not finding a center to replace Javtokas, Žalgiris signed new point guard Jerome Randle.[75] While the EuroLeague season ended with a 2–12 record, a hugely disappointing result, the team later recovered by finishing in 1st place in the LKL regular season over King Mindaugas Cup winners Lietuvos Rytas.[76] Žalgiris defeated Neptūnas Klaipėda with a 4–1 record in the LKL finals, winning their sixth consecutive LKL title.[77]

2016–present: New EuroLeague format edit

Šarūnas Jasikevičius, one of the all-time greatest Lithuanian basketball players, started coaching Žalgiris in 2016.

In November 2015, the ongoing conflict between FIBA and Euroleague came to a head when FIBA announced the formation of the Basketball Champions League, and courted EuroLeague teams to join their new championship. However, EuroLeague's long-term license teams like Žalgiris decided to stay with the Euroleague Basketball Company.[78]

2016–17 edit

Žalgiris's preparation for the 2016–17 season began during the 2016 LKL finals, when the club signed point guard Léo Westermann to replace the departing Jerome Randle.[79] After the season, long-time Žalgiris players Siim-Sander Vene and Kaspars Vecvagars left the team, while Žalgiris chose to retain the services of Seibutis and Motum.[80][81] Head coach Jasikevičius was pursued by FC Barcelona Lassa, but decided to remain with Žalgiris.[82] To correct the previous season's lack of a good shooter, Žalgiris signed Kevin Pangos; the team was loaned Augusto Lima from Real Madrid to replace Vougioukas at center.[83][84] Žalgiris also signed the returning Artūras Milaknis to a 3-year deal.[85] German prospect Isaiah Hartenstein was scheduled to make his professional debut after being signed in the previous season. In August, Žalgiris signed Antanas Kavaliauskas, the captain of Lietuvos Rytas who had previously promised to never play for Žalgiris; Kavaliauskas apologized to fans after the signing was announced.[86]

In February, Žalgiris won their first title of the 2016–17 season, winning the King Mindaugas Cup by defeating Lietkabelis Panevėžys in the finals 84–63.[87] Edgaras Ulanovas won the tournament MVP.[88] In the EuroLeague, Žalgiris exceeded expectations with a 10th-place finish (14–16 record), getting a win against defending champion CSKA Moscow and finishing ahead of FC Barcelona Lassa and Maccabi Tel Aviv.[89] Players Brock Motum, Léo Westermann, Edgaras Ulanovas and Lukas Lekavičius developed strongly, and team captain Paulius Jankūnas played one of his best seasons of his career, leading the team in scoring and rebounding.[90] In the LKL, Žalgiris won the regular season with only a few losses, sweeping their rival Lietuvos rytas, with the toughest challenge coming from a powerful Lietkabelis squad that contained former Žalgiris players Darjuš and Kšyštof Lavrinovič. In the LKL playoffs, Žalgiris easily advanced to the finals,[91][92] defeating Lietkabelis 4–1 for their seventh straight LKL championship.[93]

Edgaras Ulanovas won five LKL Finals MVP titles from 2015 to 2020.

2017–18 edit

Prior the 2017–18 season, Žalgiris reached an agreement with club sponsor Avia Solutions Group to guarantee private flights for the team during away games in a refurbished business-class Boeing 737.[94][95][96][97] The off-season work began just a week after winning the LKL championship, when breakout player Brock Motum signed with Anadolu Efes S.K.[98] To replace Motum, Žalgiris signed Aaron White, who had played a season with Zenit Saint Petersburg.[99] Léo Westerman signed with CSKA Moscow, and was replaced by talented guard Vasilije Micić.[100][101] To replace Seibutis, Žalgiris originally signed Royce O'Neale, who terminated his deal just weeks later to sign with the Utah Jazz.[102] Žalgiris then signed Axel Toupane to replace him.[103] Because center Robertas Javtokas announced retirement and the loan of Augusto Lima ended, Žalgiris signed Brandon Davies of AS Monaco Basket at the center position.[104][105][106] The most-shocking departure came at the end of June, when breakout point guard Lukas Lekavičius signed a contract with Panathinaikos.[107] Needing a new point guard, Žalgiris signed Dee Bost, also of AS Monaco.[108] Coach Jasikevičius also re-signed with Žalgiris, and the retired Javtokas became the new sports director of the team.[109][110] On September 22, Žalgiris played a game in London against Polski Cukier Toruń, which Žalgiris won 87–61. Žalgiris won the King Mindaugas Cup for the second year in a row, defeating Lietuvos rytas 81–62 in the finals. Edgaras Ulanovas won the tournament MVP for the second straight year.

From 2017 to 2019, Brandon Davies was Žalgiris's central piece and led the team to their first EuroLeague Final Four since 1998–99.

In the 2017–18 EuroLeague, Žalgiris was again projected to be one of the worst teams. Žalgiris struggled in the early season before putting together a five-game streak to finish the first round 10–5, tied for third place in the standings. In the second round, Dee Bost was replaced by Beno Udrih. Žalgiris struggled for the first few weeks of the second round, but fought its way to an 18–12 record (sixth place) and qualification for the EuroLeague playoffs for the first time since 2001. The team qualified for the 2018 EuroLeague Final Four after beating Olympiacos in game 4 to clinch a 3–1 series win.[111] The team achieved this despite having the second-lowest budget in the league.[112] Žalgiris lost to Fenerbahçe in the semifinals, 76–67. In the third-place game, Žalgiris faced longtime rivals CSKA Moscow; Žalgiris led by as much as 24 points, but CSKA's late game rally made it so Žalgiris only narrowly won 79–77, achieving third place in the EuroLeague. In the LKL, Žalgiris won the regular season and beat Lietuvos rytas in the finals with a 4–1 record, earning their eighth consecutive LKL championship. This was the club's best season since 1999.[113]

After a near-perfect season, the off-season was difficult. Žalgiris lost its front court as Pangos went to FC Barcelona Lassa and Micič signed with Efes. Žalgiris signed Nate Wolters as the team's new point guard. After the departure of Beno Udrih, Žalgiris signed Donatas Sabeckis from Šiauliai, who lead the LKL in assists. Toupane left the team to sign with Olympiacos; to replace him, Žalgiris signed former-teammate Marius Grigonis, who was having a successful career abroad, to a multi-year deal. They also signed talented guard/forward Thomas Walkup. To replace reserve Martynas Sajus, Žalgiris signed Laurynas Birutis, who was loaned and had a successful season with Šiauliai. Several more reserves, Paulius Valinskas and Gytis Masiulis, were loaned to other LKL teams so that they could gain more playing time. Ulanovas also signed a new contract. Like the previous season, the biggest concern was the future of coach Jasikevičius. Despite offers from other EuroLeague teams and the Toronto Raptors, Jasikevičius remained with Žalgiris, signing a new contract. Former player Tomas Masiulis replaced Darius Songaila in the coaching staff. In September, Žalgiris signed the returning Léo Westermann to fill the point guard spot.

2018–19 edit

In the 2018–19 LKL season, Žalgiris finished in first place in the regular season, and swept the series finals against Rytas, winning the series 3–0, for a ninth consecutive LKL championship.[114] However, Žalgiris struggled at the start of the 2018–19 EuroLeague season.[115] Needing another point guard, Žalgiris signed Derrick Walton in October. By December, Žalgiris had reach sixth place with a 7–7 record. However, injuries decimated the team. Walton's disappointing play led to declining minutes and a release in February 2019. Later in February, Žalgiris suffered a loss in the King Mindaugas Cup to Rytas Vilnius, losing the tournament for the first time since 2016.[116] By the start of March, Žalgiris was 13th in the EuroLeague with a 9–15 record.[115] The team's play started to improve when Walkup was pushed to the point guard position to replace Walton, Westermann returned after injury, and improving play by Thompson led to a six-game winning streak. Their 15–15 record clinched the final spot in the playoffs.[115] In the EuroLeague playoffs, Žalgiris lost to Fenerbahçe.[115] Žalgiris broke the EuroLeague's home attendance record with an average of 14,808 spectators in the Žalgiris Arena.

2019–20 edit

Lukas Lekavičius, who returned to Žalgiris in 2019.

During the off-season, many players (including Westermann and Thompson) announced their retirement. Lukas Lekavičius returned to the team after two seasons in Greece, and Alex Pérez was signed to replace Westermann. Jock Landale and Zach LeDay of Olympiacos were signed to complete the front court. Martinas Geben, who had signed a long-term deal the previous summer, earned a spot on the roster after a successful season with Juventus Utena in the LKL, where he was named Season MVP. Coach Jasikevičius remained with the team for one more season. Pérez, however, spent just a few months with Žalgiris, and was released in November due to his weak play. Žalgiris also signed shooting-guard K. C. Rivers in November.

Žalgiris won the King Mindaugas Cup by beating Rytas Vilnius 80–60 in the finals.[114] Ulanovas was named the MVP of the tournament, his fourth MVP award in Lithuanian Cup competitions. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the 2019–20 LKL season was ended prematurely, and with Žalgiris firmly leading the standings, Žalgiris was announced as champions, their 10th consecutive LKL championship.[114] In the 2019–20 EuroLeague, Žalgiris struggled for most of the season, including plummeting to the end of the standings, but recovered by February 2020.[117] With the EuroLeague season stopped due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Žalgiris finished in ninth place.[117]

2020–21 edit

With the season ending prematurely due to the COVID-19 situation, Žalgiris started their off-season work early. LeDay, Landale, Ulanovas, Rivers all left the team during the summer, but the biggest departure was of coach Jasikevičius, who left Žalgiris (along with the rest of the coaching staff) and signed with FC Barcelona in July. On July 14, Žalgiris announced the signing of Martin Schiller as the team's new head coach. Schiller had previously worked with the Salt Lake City Stars of the NBA G League, and had been named the NBA G League Coach of the Year in 2020. Schiller brought in Arne Woltmann and Tautvydas Sabonis as his assistant coaches, with Evaldas Beržininkaitis being the only person remaining on the team from Jasikevičius' old staff. Žalgiris brought in a bevy of new players, but the most surprising signing happened in June when Žalgiris bought out Marek Blaževič, a talented prospect, out of rival squad Rytas Vilnius.

While the expectations for the upcoming season were not promising under Schiller, Žalgiris surprised everyone and stayed in the playoff hunt throughout the 2020–21 EuroLeague season. Despite eventually not making the playoffs, Žalgiris finished the EuroLeague season with a respectable 17–17 record.[118] They won the King Mindaugas Cup and their 11th consecutive LKL final by beating Rytas 3–0.[114]

2021–22 edit

In 2021, Žalgiris signed Tyler Cavanaugh, Niels Giffey, Mantas Kalnietis, Josh Nebo, Edgaras Ulanovas, Jānis Strēlnieks and Emmanuel Mudiay. They also extended their contract with Lukas Lekavičius. Žalgiris lost all five LKL preseason games, playing seemingly worse each game. Žalgiris had a difficult start in the 2021 LKL regular season—while they won all three games, they struggled even against the weakest of teams. After a 0–2 start in the EuroLeague, Žalgiris fired coach Martin Schiller, replacing him with Jure Zdovc.[119] Injuries to players like Lauvergne and Strelnieks, struggles in the LKL, and disappointing play from projected leaders like Mudiay resulted in the worst start ever (0–9) for Žalgiris in the Euroleague.[119] In the LKL, a loss to BC Rytas resulted in Žalgiris falling out of first place.[114]

Žalgiris released Mudiay in November, replacing him with point guard Tai Webster, and signed shooting guard Zoran Dragić. The moves backfired—Webster struggled, while Dragič rarely saw playing time and was released by the end of the year.[119][114] New signees like Regimantas Miniotas also saw limited playing time.[119][114] Losses in the Euroleague resulted in Žalgiris attendance falling to record lows. By February, Žalgiris was in last place with a disastrous 4–20 record.[119]But Žalgiris recovered by March 2022, in particular thanks to the return of Joffrey Lauvergne from injury. Žalgiris also won the 2022 King Mindaugas Cup, beating BC Lietkabelis 91–66 in the finals.[114]

Žalgiris was the first team to refuse to play against Russian teams in the EuroLeague (CSKA Moscow, Kazan Unics and Zenit St.Petersburg) due to the Russian invasion to Ukraine, even gaining criticism in the Russian press for being one of the reasons Russian teams got disqualified. They finished the EuroLeague season with a memorable 103–98 win against KK Crvena zvezda.[119] Žalgiris finished the EuroLeague season with an 8–20 record, above the disqualified CSKA, UNICS and Zenit, but still in last place out of eligible teams—their worst EuroLeague finish since the 2015–16 season.[119]

Kazys Maksvytis, who started coaching Žalgiris in 2022.

By the start of April, disappointment returned to Žalgiris. Struggles in the LKL resulted in Žalgiris once again falling behind Rytas in the standings, and they ended up finishing behind Rytas in the standings for the first time since the 2013–14 season.[114] IŽalgiris replaced Zdovc later in the month, signing Lithuanian national basketball team coach Kazys Maksvytis as their new head coach.[114] The struggles continued under Maksvytis, who failed to find a good rotation or lineup with the existing roster.[114]

In the LKL playoffs, the struggles became even more evident. Žalgiris needed all five games to beat BC Neptūnas in the quarterfinals, narrowly winning the series 3–2.[114] Žalgiris won the first semifinal game against BC Lietkabelis, before losing the next three games – Lietkabelis won the series 3–1. Žalgiris had failed to qualify to the LKL finals for the first time ever, ending their 11-year domination of the LKL and finishing the 2021–22 season with the biggest fiasco in team history.[120][114] Žalgiris finished the season by winning the LKL bronze medal, beating BC Šiauliai in the consolation round in a 4–0 sweep.[114] To add insult to injury, Rytas went on to win the LKL championship. Jankūnas retired after the season and became the sports director of Žalgiris.

2022-present edit

Players edit

Current roster edit

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

Žalgiris roster
Players Coaches
Pos. No. Nat. Name Ht. Wt. Age
G 2   Evans, Keenan 1.91 m (6 ft 3 in) 86 kg (190 lb) 27 – (1996-08-23)23 August 1996
PG 4   Lekavičius, Lukas 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) 78 kg (172 lb) 30 – (1994-03-30)30 March 1994
C 8   Hayes, Kevarrius 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 103 kg (227 lb) 27 – (1997-03-05)5 March 1997
SG 9   Giedraitis, Dovydas 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in) 93 kg (205 lb) 23 – (2000-08-17)17 August 2000
F/C 10   Šmits, Rolands 2.08 m (6 ft 10 in) 107 kg (236 lb) 28 – (1995-06-25)25 June 1995
SG 12   Montvila, Nedas 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in) 89 kg (196 lb) 21 – (2002-09-15)15 September 2002
C 15   Birutis, Laurynas 2.13 m (7 ft 0 in) 114 kg (251 lb) 26 – (1997-08-27)27 August 1997
SG 16   Lukošiūnas, Karolis 1.95 m (6 ft 5 in) 87 kg (192 lb) 26 – (1997-08-04)4 August 1997
G 26   Sumner, Edmond 1.97 m (6 ft 6 in) 89 kg (196 lb) 28 – (1995-12-31)31 December 1995
SF 31   Butka, Dovydas 2.02 m (6 ft 8 in) 95 kg (209 lb) 20 – (2003-07-24)24 July 2003
SG 33   Dimša, Tomas 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in) 85 kg (187 lb) 30 – (1994-01-02)2 January 1994
F/C 35   Lavrinovičius, Danielius 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 92 kg (203 lb) 25 – (1999-01-22)22 January 1999
PF 45   Manek, Brady 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) 105 kg (231 lb) 25 – (1998-09-04)4 September 1998
SF 51   Butkevičius, Arnas 1.97 m (6 ft 6 in) 95 kg (209 lb) 31 – (1992-11-22)22 November 1992
SF 92   Ulanovas, Edgaras (C) 1.99 m (6 ft 6 in) 99 kg (218 lb) 32 – (1992-01-07)7 January 1992
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)
  •   Justinas Grainys
  •   Nerijus Navickas
  •   Vytautas Kailius
  •   Paulius Jacikas

  • (C) Team captain
  •   Injured

Updated: March 29, 2024

Depth chart edit

Pos. Starting 5 Bench 1 Bench 2 Inactive
C Kevarrius Hayes Laurynas Birutis
PF Rolands Šmits Brady Manek Danielius Lavrinovičius
SF Edgaras Ulanovas Arnas Butkevičius Karolis Lukošiūnas Dovydas Butka
SG Edmond Sumner Tomas Dimša Dovydas Giedraitis Nedas Montvila
PG Keenan Evans Lukas Lekavičius Sylvain Francisco

Squad changes for the 2023–24 season edit

Players in edit

No. Pos. Nat. Name Moving from Type Date Source
3 G   Naz Mitrou-Long Olimpia Milano   Released 27 June 2023 [121][122]
35 F/C   Danielius Lavrinovičius Nevėžis Kėdainiai   Released 3 July 2023 [123]
45 PF   Brady Manek Tofaş S.K.   End of contract 21 July 2023 [124]
12 SG   Nedas Montvila Žalgiris-2   Two-way contract 14 September 2023 [125]
31 SF   Dovydas Butka Žalgiris-2   Two-way contract 14 September 2023 [125]

Players out edit

No. Pos. Nat. Name Moving to Type Date Source
17 G/F   Mantas Rubštavičius New Zealand Breakers   Parted ways 13 June 2023 [126]
23 F   Paulius Murauskas Arizona Wildcats   Parted ways 14 June 2023 [127]
14 C   Motiejus Krivas Arizona Wildcats   Parted ways 14 June 2023 [127]
25 PF   Achille Polonara Virtus Bologna   End of contract 15 June 2022 [128]
16 SG   Karolis Lukošiūnas Free agent Released 16 June 2023 [129]
34 PF   Tyler Cavanaugh Bahçeşehir Koleji   Released 25 June 2023 [130]
1 PG   Isaiah Taylor Shanxi Loongs   End of contract 27 June 2023 [122]
17 G/F     Ignas Brazdeikis Olympiacos   Buyout 24 September 2023 [131]

Players out on loan edit

No. Pos. Nat. Name Moving to Type Date Source
45 G/F   Liutauras Lelevičius Lietkabelis Panevėžys   Loan 19 July 2023 [132]

Retired numbers edit

Žalgiris retired numbers
No Player Position Tenure Ceremony date
5 Modestas Paulauskas SF 1962–1976 25 March 2015[133]
11 Arvydas Sabonis C 1981–1989, 2001–2002, 2003–2005 27 September 2014[134]
13 Paulius Jankūnas PF 2003–2009, 2010–2022 18 October 2022[135]
HC Vladas Garastas HC 1979–1989 23 April 2017[136]
HC Jonas Kazlauskas HC 1994–2000 23 April 2019[137]

Major championships edit

At the team's inception in 1944, when Lithuania was a Soviet Socialist Republic, Žalgiris began competing in both the Soviet Union National League and the domestic Lithuanian SSR League. When the country declared independence from the USSR in 1991 and the Soviet League folded, Žalgiris competed in the Lithuanian League (a successor of the Lithuanian SSR League) for two years before the newly-reinstated Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) established the Lithuanian Basketball League (LKL) as the country's premier basketball league in 1993, with Žalgiris as a founding member.

In 2007, the LKF established the LKF Cup (Lietuvos Krepšinio Federacijos Taurė) as an annual tournament for domestic clubs. Before 2007, the LKF Cup had been held twice—once in 1989–90 and once in 1997–89. It was replaced in 2016 by the King Mindaugas Cup, a mid-season tournament for LKL teams that runs from October to February.

Domestic competitions edit

Winners (5): 1947, 1951, 1985, 1986, 1987 [1]
Winners (11): 1946, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958, 1991, 1992, 1993
Winners (24): 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2023
Winners (1): 1953
Winners (6): 1990, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2015
Winners (6): 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

Regional competitions edit

Winners (1): 1999
Winners (5): 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012
Winners (1): 2009

European competitions edit

Winners (1): 1998–99
Runners-up (1): 1985–86
Semifinalists (1): 1986–87
3rd place (1): 2017–18
Final Four (2): 1999, 2018
Winners (1): 1997–98
Runners-up (1): 1984–85
Semifinalists (3): 1988–89, 1989–90, 1995–96

Worldwide competitions edit

Winners (1): 1986

Other competitions edit

Winners (1): 2008
Runners-up (1): 2010

Season-by-season edit

Scroll down to see more.
Season League LKF / KMT Cup Regional competitions Europe Head Coach Roster
1992–93 Champion No tournament No tournament EuroLeague
FIBA EuroLeague 1992–93
Henrikas Giedraitis

Gintaras Einikis, Arvydas Straupis, Gintaras Staniulis, Gintautas Šivickas, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Arūnas Visockas, Saulius Štombergas, Darius Lukminas, Darius Maskoliūnas, Algirdas Brazys, Vaidas Jurgilas, Tauras Stumbrys, Aurimas Tomas Palšis

1993–94 Champion No tournament No tournament FIBA EuroLeague 1993–94 Second round Jaak Salumets Gintaras Einikis, Romanas Brazdauskis, Erikas Bublys, Antwon Harmon, Arūnas Visockas, Gert Kullamäe, Darius Lukminas, Gintautas Šivickas, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Darius Maskoliūnas, Algirdas Brazys, Vaidas Jurgilas, Tauras Stumbrys
1994–95 Champion No tournament No tournament 1994–95 FIBA European League Second Round Jonas Kazlauskas Gintaras Einikis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Tomas Masiulis, Arūnas Visockas, Nerijus Karlikanovas, Darren Henrie, Darius Lukminas, Marijus Kavoliukas, Mindaugas Lydeka, Darius Maskoliūnas, Algirdas Brazys, Tauras Stumbrys, Michael Coleman
1995–96 Champion No tournament No tournament 1995–96 FIBA European League Second Round Jonas Kazlauskas Torgeir Bryn, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Joey Hooks, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Tomas Masiulis, Arūnas Visockas, Miloš Babić, Darius Lukminas, Erikas Bublys, Darius Maskoliūnas, Nerijus Karlikanovas, Tauras Stumbrys, Darius Sirtautas
1996–97 Champion No tournament No tournament EuroCup
Last 16
Jonas Kazlauskas Franjo Arapović, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Gintautas Šivickas, Dainius Adomaitis, Erikas Bublys, Darius Maskoliūnas, Anthony Miller, Veljko Mršić, Andre Reid, Tauras Stumbrys, Darius Sirtautas
1997–98 Champion No tournament No tournament EuroCup
Jonas Kazlauskas Franjo Arapović, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Mindaugas Žukauskas, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Adomaitis, Virginijus Praškevičius, Darius Maskoliūnas, Ennis Whatley, Tauras Stumbrys, Darius Sirtautas
1998–99 Champion No tournament NEBL Champion EuroLeague
Jonas Kazlauskas George Zidek, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Mindaugas Žukauskas, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Adomaitis, Anthony Bowie, Darius Maskoliūnas, Tyus Edney, Giedrius Gustas
1999–00 Finalist No tournament EuroLeague
Last 24
Jonas Kazlauskas George Zidek, Eurelijus Žukauskas, Ivan Grgat, Mindaugas Žukauskas, Mindaugas Timinskas, Tauras Stumbrys, Tomas Masiulis, Kęstutis Šeštokas, Donatas Slanina, Darren Henry, Corey Beck, Mitchell Butler, Chris Garner
2000–01 Champion No tournament NEBL Finalist EuroLeague
Last 16
Algirdas Brazys Grigorij Khizhnyak, Artūras Masiulis, John White, Martynas Andriukaitis, Andrius Jurkūnas, Dainius Šalenga, Tomas Masiulis, Steve Woodberry, Donatas Slanina, Giedrius Gustas, Kęstutis Marčiulionis, Nerijus Karlikanovas, Marius Bašinskas, Vidas Ginevičius
2001–02 Finalist No tournament EuroLeague
Last 32
Algirdas Brazys Grigorij Khizhnyak, Artūras Masiulis, Rolandas Matulis, Andrius Jurkūnas, Dainius Šalenga, Tomas Masiulis, Steve Woodberry, Donatas Slanina, Giedrius Gustas, Sherman Hamilton, Kęstutis Marčiulionis, Vidas Ginevičius, Arvydas Sabonis, Martynas Andriukaitis, Kenneth Inge
2002–03 Champion No tournament EuroLeague
Last 24
Antanas Sireika Gintaras Einikis, Tanoka Beard, Darius Šilinskis, Artūras Masiulis, Tadas Klimavičius, Saulius Štombergas, Dainius Šalenga, Kornél Dávid, Mindaugas Timinskas, Chris Carrawell, Giedrius Gustas, Ed Cota, Vidas Ginevičius
2003–04 Champion No tournament No tournament EuroLeague
Last 16
Antanas Sireika Tanoka Beard, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Arvydas Sabonis, Paulius Jankūnas, Artūras Javtokas, Miroslav Beric, Dainius Šalenga, Simonas Serapinas, Mindaugas Timinskas, Ainars Bagatskis, Giedrius Gustas, Ed Cota
2004–05 Champion No tournament BBL Champion EuroLeague
Last 16
Antanas Sireika Tanoka Beard, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Paulius Jankūnas, Martynas Andriuškevičius, Dainius Šalenga, Simonas Serapinas, Jonas Mačiulis, Mindaugas Timinskas, Ainars Bagatskis, Vidas Ginevičius, Robert Pack, Artūras Javtokas, Arvydas Sabonis, Gediminas Navickas
2005–06 Finalist No tournament BBL Finalist EuroLeague
Last 16
Antanas Sireika Tanoka Beard, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Paulius Jankūnas, Darius Šilinskis, Reggie Freeman, Simonas Serapinas, Jonas Mačiulis, Mantas Kalnietis, Ed Cota, Vidas Ginevičius, Larry Ayuso, Kenny Anderson, Vilmantas Dilys
2006–07 Champion Winner BBL Finalist EuroLeague
Last 24
Rimantas Grigas Tanoka Beard, Darius Šilinskis, Hanno Möttölä, Paulius Jankūnas, Marcelo Machado, Kirk Penney, Jonas Mačiulis, Vladimir Štimac, Artūras Milaknis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins, Marko Popović, Vidas Ginevičius, Vaidotas Pečiukas, Vytenis Jasikevičius
2007–08 Champion Winner BBL Champion EuroLeague
Last 16
Rimantas Grigas Eurelijus Žukauskas, Tanoka Beard, Paulius Jankūnas, Goran Jurak, Dainius Šalenga, Jonas Mačiulis, Marcus Brown, Artūras Milaknis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins, Marko Popović, Damir Markota, Mamadou N'Diaye, Donatas Motiejūnas, Vilmantas Dilys, Žygimantas Janavičius
2008–09 Finalist Finalist BBL Finalist EuroLeague
Last 24
Gintaras Krapikas Eurelijus Žukauskas, Loren Woods, Paulius Jankūnas, Tomas Masiulis, Tadas Klimavičius, Dainius Šalenga, Jonas Mačiulis, Darius Šilinskis, Artūras Milaknis, Mantas Kalnietis, Vytenis Čižauskas, Šarūnas Vasiliauskas, Žygimantas Janavičius, Ratko Varda, Willie Deane, Rokas Čepanonis
2009–10 Finalist Finalist BBL Champion EuroLeague
Last 16
Marcus Brown Mirza Begić, Travis Watson, Tadas Klimavičius, Mario Delaš, Dainius Šalenga, Martynas Pocius, Artūras Milaknis, Marcus Brown, Aleksandar Ćapin, Mantas Kalnietis, Siim-Sander Vene, Povilas Butkevičius, Povilas Čukinas, Šarūnas Vasiliauskas, Adas Juškevičius
2010–11 Champion Winner BBL Champion EuroLeague
Last 16
Ilias Zouros Mirza Begić, Boban Marjanović, Travis Watson, Omar Samhan, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Trent Plaisted, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Dainius Šalenga, Martynas Pocius, Artūras Milaknis, Marcus Brown, Aleksandar Ćapin, Tomas Delininkaitis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins
2011–12 Champion Winner VTB United League EuroLeague
Last 16
Aleksandar Trifunović Robertas Javtokas, Milovan Raković, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Sonny Weems, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Marko Popović, Tomas Delininkaitis, Mantas Kalnietis, DeJuan Collins, Reeves Nelson, Dainius Šalenga, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Ty Lawson
2012–13 Champion Not participated VTB United League Third place EuroLeague
Last 16
Joan Plaza Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Marko Popović, Kšyštof Lavrinovič, Darjuš Lavrinovič, Jeff Foote, Mario Delaš, Tremmell Darden, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Rimantas Kaukėnas, Oliver Lafayette, Ibrahim Jaaber, Adas Juškevičius, Donnie McGrath
2013–14 Champion Third place Not participated EuroLeague
Last 16
Saulius Štombergas Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Tadas Klimavičius, Martynas Pocius, Justin Dentmon, Kšyštof Lavrinovič, Siim-Sander Vene, Artūras Milaknis, Šarūnas Jasikevičius, Mindaugas Kupšas, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Tauras Jogėla, Tomas Dimša, Kaspars Vecvagars, Vytenis Čižauskas, Artūras Gudaitis
2014–15 Champion Winner Not participated EuroLeague
Last 16
Gintaras Krapikas Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Siim-Sander Vene, Artūras Milaknis, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Tomas Dimša, Kaspars Vecvagars, Artūras Gudaitis, Lukas Lekavičius, Donatas Tarolis, Vaidas Kariniauskas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Darius Songaila, James Anderson, Will Cherry
2015–16 Champion Runner-up Not participated EuroLeague
Last 16
Gintaras Krapikas, Šarūnas Jasikevičius Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Siim-Sander Vene, Vytenis Lipkevičius, Kaspars Vecvagars, Lukas Lekavičius, Edgaras Ulanovas, Martynas Pocius, Renaldas Seibutis, Olivier Hanlan, Brock Motum, Ian Vougioukas, Martynas Sajus, Jerome Randle, Mantas Kalnietis
2016–17 Champion Winner Not participated EuroLeague
Regular Season
Šarūnas Jasikevičius Robertas Javtokas, Paulius Jankūnas, Lukas Lekavičius, Edgaras Ulanovas, Renaldas Seibutis, Brock Motum, Leo Westermann, Kevin Pangos, Augusto Lima, Artūras Milaknis, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Paulius Valinskas, Isaiah Hartenstein, Martynas Varnas, Gytis Masiulis
2017–18 Champion Winner Not participated EuroLeague
Third place
Šarūnas Jasikevičius Paulius Jankūnas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Kevin Pangos, Artūras Milaknis, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Paulius Valinskas, Gytis Masiulis, Aaron White, Vasilije Micić, Brandon Davies, Dee Bost, Axel Toupane, Martynas Sajus, Martynas Arlauskas, Beno Udrih
2018–19 Champion Finalist Not participated EuroLeague
Šarūnas Jasikevičius Paulius Jankūnas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Artūras Milaknis, Antanas Kavaliauskas, Aaron White, Brandon Davies, Leo Westermann, Nate Wolters, Marius Grigonis, Laurynas Birutis, Thomas Walkup, Donatas Sabeckis, Derrick Walton, Lukas Uleckas, Rokas Jokubaitis, Erikas Venskus
2019–20 Champion[a] Champion Not participated EuroLeague
Season suspended
Šarūnas Jasikevičius Paulius Jankūnas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Artūras Milaknis, Marius Grigonis, Thomas Walkup, Rokas Jokubaitis, Erikas Venskus, Martinas Geben, Nigel Hayes, Jock Landale, Zach LeDay, Lukas Lekavičius, Karolis Lukošiūnas, K.C. Rivers, Alex Pérez, Kerr Kriisa
2020–21 Champion Champion Not participated EuroLeague
Regular Season
Martin Schiller Paulius Jankūnas, Artūras Milaknis, Marius Grigonis, Thomas Walkup, Rokas Jokubaitis, Martinas Geben, Nigel Hayes, Lukas Lekavičius, Karolis Lukošiūnas, Marek Blaževič, Patricio Garino, Augustine Rubit, Steve Vasturia, Joffrey Lauvergne, Tomas Dimša
2021–22 Third place Champion Not participated EuroLeague
Regular Season
Martin Schiller, Jure Zdovc, Kazys Maksvytis Paulius Jankūnas, Edgaras Ulanovas, Artūras Milaknis, Mantas Kalnietis, Lukas Lekavičius, Karolis Lukošiūnas, Marek Blaževič, Joffrey Lauvergne, Tyler Cavanaugh, Niels Giffey, Josh Nebo, Jānis Strēlnieks, Emmanuel Mudiay, Tai Webster, Zoran Dragić, Regimantas Miniotas, Motiejus Krivas, Titas Sargiūnas
2022–23 Champion Champion Not participated EuroLeague
Kazys Maksvytis Laurynas Birutis, Ignas Brazdeikis, Arnas Butkevičius, Tyler Cavanaugh, Tomas Dimša, Keenan Evans, Dovydas Giedraitis, Kevarrius Hayes, Mantas Kalnietis, Motiejus Krivas, Lukas Lekavičius, Liutauras Lelevičius, Karolis Lukošiūnas, Achille Polonara, Rolands Šmits, Isaiah Taylor, Edgaras Ulanovas
  1. ^ Žalgiris named champion after the premature ending of the league due to the coronavirus pandemic
Detailed information of former rosters and results. [138][139][140]

Notable players edit

Žalgiris vs. Golden State Warriors in 2007
Žalgiris vs. Šiauliai in 2007
Žalgiris warming up before the game
Žalgiris fans during LKL game in Vilnius
Former Žalgiris jersey

Many players who spent time with Žalgiris also played in the NBA. The most notable example is Arvydas Sabonis, who spent seven seasons with the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers including a Western Conference Finals run in 2000. Other notable crossovers include 1994 NBA All-Star Kenny Anderson, two-time NBA champion Beno Udrih, Ty Lawson, Robert Pack, and current NBA players Boban Marjanovic, Isaiah Hartenstein, Jock Landale, and Vasilije Micić.

The listed players have either (a) set a club record or won an individual award while playing for Žalgiris, (b) played at least one official international match for their national team, or (c) played in at least one official NBA match.

Head coaches edit

Jonas Kazlauskas was the head coach of Žalgiris during the 1998–99 season. Žalgiris won the EuroLeague that season.

Attendance edit

Žalgiris EuroLeague attendance year by year in Žalgiris Arena.

Season Total High Low Average Pos.*
2011–12[1] 105,307 15,000 9,150 13,163 1
2012–13 161,103 15,420 10,190 13,475 1
2013–14 118,433 12,000 8,150 9,869 7
2014–15 117,040 14,382 8,670 10,640 6
2015–16 131,998 14,790 8,702 11,000 2
2016–17 171,266 15,231 8,621 11,418 2
2017–18 230,518 15,525 10,195 13,560 1
2018–19 251,742 15,517 13,569 14,808 1
2019–20 199,088 15,342 9,405 14,221 1
2020–21[2] 10,381 5,131 239 3,460 1
2021–22 106,830 12,686 4,863 7,630 4
2022–23 267,041 15,293 11,024 14,836 2

*Position by average attendance among Euroleague teams

1.^ Only top 16 matches were played
2.^ Only three games played with spectators due to COVID-19 pandemic

Team records edit

LKL records

  • Most points scored in a single game – 146 (vs LSU-Atletas, 24 January 2004)
  • Highest two-pointers made percentage of all time – 57.08%
  • Most offensive rebounds of all time – 25,330
  • Most three pointers made in a single game – 23 (vs LSU-Atletas, 24 January 2004)
  • Most points scored in a single half of a game – 87 (vs LSU-Atletas, 24 January 2004)
  • Most points scored in a single quarter of a game – 46 (vs LSU-Atletas, 24 January 2004)
  • Biggest win in a home game – by 82 points (vs LSU-Atletas, 24 January 2004)
  • Most consecutive wins of all time – 38 (4 May 1998–8 November 1999)
  • Most consecutive home wins of all time – 39 (18 January 2003–15 October 2004)
  • Most consecutive away wins of all time – 23 (31 January 1998–8 November 1999)
  • Best winning percentage of all time – 64%
  • Largest single game attendance of all time – 15,266 (vs Lietuvos Rytas, in the last game of the finals)

VTB United League records

  • Fewest combined points in an overtime period – 8 (Žalgiris – 6 points, Triumph – 2; 14 October 2012)
  • Fewest fouls in a single game – 7 (vs Lokomotiv Kuban, 25 May 2013)
  • Largest attendance at a game – 15,812 (vs CSKA, 28 October 2012)

EuroLeague records

BBL records

  • Most points scored in a single game – 125 (vs Barons/LU, 8 January 2005)
  • Most free throws made in a single game – 37 (vs Valmieras Piens, 15 February 2005)
  • Most free throws made of all time – 1,468
  • Most blocks of all time – 303
  • Highest points per game of all time – 92.14
  • Highest efficiency per game of all time – 108.95
  • Highest three point percentage of all time – 40.22
  • Most blocks per game of all time – 3.94

Previous kits edit

The uniform colors of Žalgiris are green and white. The home games are played in green uniforms and the away games are played in white. Since 2012, Adidas was the manufacturer of the club uniforms.[141] In 2018, Žalgiris started manufacturing their own uniforms, in attempt to spread the brand image of the team while also making them more affordable to fans.[142]


Statistical leaders edit

All-time points per game in European games (PPG) edit

Bold denotes still active with the team. Italics denotes still active, but not with the team.

Only players with a significant number of games played or points scored.

Position Player Seasons Games Points total Points per game
1 Paulius Jankūnas 18 364 3,060 8.4
2 Artūras Milaknis 12 244 1,689 6.9
3 Rimas Kurtinaitis 6 70 1,321 18.9
4 Edgaras Ulanovas 7 185 1,294 7.0
5 Arvydas Sabonis 5 63 1,281 20.3
6 Lukas Lekavičius 6 145 1,129 7.8
7 Tanoka Beard 6 73 1,107 15.2
8 Dainius Šalenga 10 129 1,107 8.6
9 Valdemaras Chomičius 5 53 934 17.6
10 Marius Grigonis 3 78 868 11.1
Last updated: 18 November 2021[143]

Individual awards edit

Domestic edit

LKL Most Valuable Player

LKL Finals MVP

King Mindaugas Cup Finals MVP

LKL Rising Star

LKL Defensive Player of the Year

LKL Most Improved Player

LKL Coach of the Year

All-LKL Team

LKL All-Star Game MVP

LKL Best Legionnaire

LKL moment of the season

International edit

EuroLeague MVP

EuroLeague Final Four MVP

EuroLeague Finals Top Scorer

All-EuroLeague First Team

All-EuroLeague Second Team

Rivalries edit

During the Soviet era, Žalgiris had a huge rivalry with CSKA Moscow, the multiple-time champion and Red Army symbol. Their matchups would draw huge crowds in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. The rivalry peaked during the 1980s, with the teams meeting in the USSR championship finals six times, which Žalgiris won in 1985, 1986 and 1987. It is considered to be the top rivalry in USSR basketball, as CSKA remains one of the most-hated teams in Kaunas to this day. During the 2000s and 2010s, the teams met many times in the EuroLeague, with CSKA winning most of the matches. In 2018, during the EuroLeague third place match, Žalgiris narrowly defeated CSKA, 79–77. Over the years, the two teams also met in the NEBL, as well as the VTB United League, with the matches drawing huge crowds. In 2012, one such VTB match drew a record attendance of 15,812 for the competition and for the Žalgiris Arena.

After the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania and the Independence of Lithuania in 1990, and the establishment of the Lithuanian Basketball League in 1993, Žalgiris had a derby rivalry with BC Atletas, coached by former-Žalgiris head coach Vladas Garastas, with both teams fighting for the LKL championship. The teams met in the LKL finals four times, with Žalgiris winning each time. Starting in 1998, the biggest rival of Žalgiris has been BC Lietuvos rytas, also known as BC Rytas, from Vilnius. The matches draw the biggest interest in all of LKL, with the teams meeting in the finals 17 times, with Žalgiris winning 12 times, while Rytas won 5. The teams constantly fight for first place in the LKL standings. In the LKF Cup, King Mindaugas Cup, Baltic Basketball League and the NEBL, Žalgiris wins most of the matchups. During the 2010s, Žalgiris has largely dominated the rivalry, with sweeps in the finals in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2019 and in the regular season in 2017. In the 2018–19 season, Žalgiris swept Rytas in both the regular season and the finals series.

Matches against NBA teams edit

15 October 2007
Golden State Warriors   107–88   BC Žalgiris
17 October 2007
Toronto Raptors   105–99   BC Žalgiris
19 October 2007
Washington Wizards   115–96   BC Žalgiris
Verizon Center, Washington, D.C.

Video games edit

Žalgiris basketball club was featured in the video game NBA 2K14, along with thirteen other top EuroLeague teams.[144][145] The club was also featured in NBA 2K15, NBA 2K16 and NBA 2K17.[146][147][148]

Notes edit

References edit

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