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Jasikevicius To Take Break And Keep On

14 May 2013
EUROBASKET 2013

13. Sarunas Jasikevicius (Lithuania)
Sarunas Jasikevicius will not suit up for Lithuania at EuroBasket 2013

Sarunas Jasikevicius has been an iconic player in European basketball since the turn of the century, and for Lithuania almost since stepping on a court for his first international game at the European Championship for Cadets, 20 years ago.

He was last in action at the weekend, as FC Barcelona competed in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four and came fourth after losing to CSKA Moscow on Sunday.

Jasikevicius is the only player to have won the trophy with three different clubs, Maccabi Tel Aviv, Barcelona and Panathinaikos.

As many suspected however, he will not grace the court in Jesenice, Slovenia where Lithuania commence their EuroBasket 2013 campaign in September.

"It would be too difficult," Jasikevicius told website basketnews.lt on Sunday night in London.

"I need to think of my family, because they spent the entire last two summers without me.

"I need to take a break."

"I spoke with the federation and have told them about this summer, especially since many players of my generation will be out and I need to go along with them."

The charismatic guard, who turned 37 in March, was instrumental in Lithuania's gold medal triumph at EuroBasket 2003 in Sweden and his participation at big events with the national team had been uninterrupted until 2005, when he missed the EuroBasket in Belgrade.

Jasikevicius was then absent from the World Championship in Japan the following year, returned to the Lithuanian side for the 2008 Olympics and then took a three-year break from the national team.

Until the very special to any Lithuanian EuroBasket 2011, the first event of such magnitude to be hosted by the Baltic country; a memorable occasion, but also a taxing tournament physically for the then 35-year-old.

"I remember that after the championship in Lithuania, where we played 11 or 12 games, I [was so tired] I was thinking to finish my career," Jasikevicius revealed.

He returned however for one more year at Panathinaikos, and re-joined former club FC Barcelona in the summer, after playing with the national team at the London Olympics.

"The Olympics for me at this age to play is easier, because there is a game only every other day," Jasikevicius explained.

"Now in this championship [EuroBasket 2013], there will be a game every day."

The 1.92m point guard however stopped short on Sunday from announcing his retirement from the national team, leaving a window open for a possible return at the 2014 World Cup.

"You never know what will happen in a year, a year in our sport is a very long period of time," he said.

Before the London Final Four, Jasikevicius had told krepsinis.net: "This is certainly not my last season, because basketball is not a job, it's a dream."

 

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