Vitali Liutych is one of the best players of his generation in Europe and the best in Belarus. Before this season, the wing player signed a long-term contract with Siauliai and admits that all he wants now is to become stronger and play better.
This season the young player, who can play in the shooting guard and the small forward positions, experienced what it is like to play in the Lithuania second division side ABRO - Universitetas in NKL. And he is doing quite well, but still not as good as he would like. 11.6 points (2P – 53.6%, 3P – 16.3%, FT – 64.6%), 4,6 rebounds, 1 steal per game, which is good enough for an average ranking of 7,3 – that‘s what Vitali has been showing this season. The 18-years old player this season is struggling from beyond the arc and doesn‘t feel very good because of many changes that happened in the autumn. Lukas Kucinskas from Green Hoops asked the Belarusian a couple of questions about his country’s National Team, the life in Lithuania and himself.
Could you tell our readers something about yourself – the first steps in basketball and how you have been passing your time in Siauliai?
I was born in a small town of Bereza, not far away from Brest and played football and tennis, before our coach at the school decided to create a sports class on basketball and my parents let me join. After the eighth grade, I was noticed and got invited to study in Minsk, where I trained with some guys older than me. After that, I was invited to play for U-16 and twice for the U-18 teams and after a successful European championship, I started receiving various options for continuing my basketball career. As you already know I picked the club in Lithuania – Siauliai, where I have all the conditions for training and development.
Who is your basketball idol, a player you loved to watch at an earlier age?
From an early age I was watching NBA and Euroleague games. In the NBA I really like the game of Kobe Bryant.
What goals did you set for yourself this season?
My goals are to get a lot more playing time and gain experience, as well as to strengthen physically.
This season You had some ups and downs. Why it is like that? Are there any specific reasons?
I do not know why, but I can’t adapt into the new team and my role in it very well.
Your three-point accuracy this season isn‘t as good as everyone expected. What do you think, is it affected by the new FIBA rules?
I don’t think that’s associated with a new marking of three point line. It may be affected with emotions, and maybe the fact that I started to play more in other positions.
How about Belarusian men‘s national team? A fellow Belarusian Artiom Parakhouski is playing in Latvia. What do you think about the potential of your National Team?
Of course I hope to get into the men’s national team in the future, but this summer I’ve been invited to the national U-20 youth team, but hopefully we’ll both play for the National Team in the future.
Half of the season has already gone – what is your opinion about Lithuania and the level of NKL? How has it changed during your time in Siauliai?
I can only compare it with the Belarusian league and certainly the level of Lithuanian basketball is much higher than in Belarus. I knew almost everything when I was coming here. Everything is fine and all I want to do is just play basketball.