Butautas Shifts Gears From Lithuania To Donetsk

30 September 2009

Ramunas Butautas likes what he sees so far in BC Donetsk, the Ukrainian team he's hoping to lead past ACB side Bilbao in the Eurocup Qualifying Round.

Fresh off a disappointing EuroBasket as the coach of Lithuania, Butautas stepped down from his national team job and finally joined up with Donetsk, who had been in Spain in pre-season training.

"Before my arrival the team had done all the grunt work that is very important," Butautas said.

"A lot of attention was paid to physical training, and the players have been getting acquainted with the main principles of team play in attack and in defense, knowing my rules of cooperation.

"All players are working diligently and with good dedication, so I've been very pleased.

"I am also pleased with the work of physicians and the entire staff."

Butautas admits that in an ideal situation, he would have been with Donetsk from the first day of training but his commitments with the national team didn't allow for that.

"Of course, each coach must prepare the team from scratch," Butautas said.

"He must participate in all processes in the pre-season.

"But I am not the only coach who has worked with a club, and in a national team.

"I trust the professionalism of assistants, and thank them for their work in my absence."

As for the make-up of the team, there are familiar faces in Chris Owens, who averaged 13 points and seven rebounds for Donetsk in their two EuroChallenge Qualifying Round 1 games last year.

Ukraine international Artur Drozdov has joined from BC Kyiv, where he averaged 12.5 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season as Kyiv reached the last eight.

Former Proteas EKA AEL star Milutin Aleksic, who spent last season with ASK Riga, and Andrius Mazhutis - a member of Butautas' EuroBasket squad - are also with Donetsk this season.

Butautas knows what he expects from his team.

"We will try to play modern European basketball," he said, "using the best qualities of each player, picking up tactics for each opponent. This is my ideal."

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