The Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) is yet to announce an official verdict on coach Kestutis Kemzura, whose contract with the federation expired after the Olympics, but a coaching change is almost inevitable for Lithuania.
Vladas Garastas, the Honorary President of LKF, was disappointed that the tradition of making the Olympic semi-finals was broken, but what frustrated him the most was the team’s display on the court.
“The thing I didn’t like the most was the gray and monotonic game. I wanted speed, passing, running. We lacked fire. It seemed as if it was a team of veterans over 40-years-old,” Garastas said in an interview with Delfi.lt.
However, certain disagreements between Khimki’s coach Rimas Kurtinaitis and the LKF, stemming from Lithuania’s poor performance in EuroBasket 2009, have rounded up the candidate list to a single solid name.
Kazlauskas returning to the national team is potentially a deal made in heaven, as a rejuvenated team will benefit from having an experienced coach, who seems to be interested in returning as well.
“I had no contact with the federation until Arvydas Sabonis was elected as President. Now, with Arvydas, things have a potential to change. I respect him a lot and if he ever asks for help, I will never say no,” Jonas Kazlauskas told BasketNews.lt.
Rimas Kurtinaitis is fully behind the candidature of Kazlauskas, despite him not the best season with CSKA Moscow.
“I don't see myself in the national team in the upcoming years. I would say Jonas Kazlauskas is the best option. He is experienced and already has been in this situation in the past,” Kurtinaitis told Russian media.
Vladas Garastas was cautious about his wording of the issue, but the idea remained the same – there is no better candidate than Kazlauskas.
“When it comes to choosing the coach, the prerogative belongs to Arvydas Sabonis. First of all, we need to talk with the best candidate. And I think Jonas Kazlauskas is just that. We need an experienced guy like him to rebuild Lithuanian basketball.”