Sarunas Jasikevicius still doesn’t know whether he’ll continue playing basketball after the summer with the Lithuanian national team. One of the best players in the country’s basketball history doesn’t hide his eagerness to fight for more trophies, but doesn’t rule out the possibility of him hanging the sneakers already.
The 36-year-old Lithuanian playmaking genius is considering different options, but, as always, says he will not rush his decisions. Although Jasikevicius admits that his full attention is committed to the national team’s training camp in Houston, the uncertainty does find the way to the player’s mind.
We’ve been hearing for a couple of years now about you being linked with Zalgiris. Do these talks have more ground this year than before?
I’ve always told others not to listen to rumours. There will either be something official, or there won’t be anything at all. I also read what’s being written, laugh a little bit. Yes, there are talks, but it’s only one of the options. I think there’s no need to talk about it now. In basketball, it’s either official or it’s nothing.
You’ve said you’d like to continue playing, but have you thought about retirement?
I don’t know. You’ve heard about the talks with Panathinaikos. We discussed the possibility of coaching, but I still need to make some decisions, so it’s difficult to answer the question. It would be difficult to leave basketball, especially after a good season like that. I still really want to play, but sometimes life makes you make interesting choices.
During the off-season, you always seem to take your time. When do you plan on making the decision?
I’m one of those people, who think for a very long time. Probably amongst those, who change their mind before making a decision. I don’t think something will change this year. I’ll be thinking about it until there’s no time and I’ll just have to flip a coin. Like always...
Are the talks with Panathinaikos still ongoing?
There’s still talks. I don’t really want to talk more about this issue. First of all, I need to make a decision myself about the direction I want to go. I want to play. And the idea would be to continue playing, but I still don’t know.
Was it difficult to hear that Zeljko Obradovic is leaving Panathinaikos?
Yes. Every year, there have been talks about him leaving and he was doing his best to stay at the club. I know that he loves Panathinaikos. The club, especially the fans, love him too. I think his decision was difficult not only for me, but also for most of the players, who have been working with him for a while. I think that he wasn’t the only working for smaller money in Panathinaikos, the players did the same. It was a very good mutual connection. It will be hard for the club, because he lifted the club to new heights. It’s been the most successful club for the last 12 or 13 years. Without a doubt.
Which European coach can match up to Zeljko Obradovic?
It’s hard to compare him with others. He has achieved a lot in the professional relations with the players. No one seems to be talking about him as a person. The amount of titles he’s won, no one has got close to that. He’s the best for me. And the runner-up isn’t very close...