I had the pleasure to ask some questions to Rokas Jokubaitis, 19 years old Lithuanian player, who recently entered the NBA draft. Due to the improvements especially in the last year, the left-handed Žalgiris Kaunas’ player felt ready to try to make the biggest jump in his career. I asked him about what it means playing for Šarūnas Jasikevičius, what is the strength of Lithuanian basketball, which are the parts of his game he has to improve in his opinion and what United States represent for him, not only as regards basketball.

Hello, Rokas! Here’s to hoping you and your family are doing good in this tough period for everybody.

I’m fine, thank you! I hope you are doing well, too.

What does it mean to a young Lithuanian guy being coached by a legend like Šarūnas Jasikevičius? And what did he teach you in the daily work? I am referring not only to the technical/tactical aspects of the game.

As a young player, it means a lot to me working with this type of coach, because everyday you can learn something new from him, no matter if I have practice or game. In addition to that, he played at point guard position, so he can share his experience with me as regards many fundamental aspects, such as court vision, decision making and so.

What is the reason why the Lithuanian school has always been, is and will be forever one of the best in our continent?

We have a lot of good quality coaches in our country, who prepare youngsters for the high level. They pay much attention to team basketball, without forgetting to focus also on the individual skillset. I think this is the most important thing of our basketball school.

Which have been your better offensive improvements in the last two years? And which are, on the other hand, those offensive aspects as regards you think you have still some lacks?

In overall, my skillset as a point guard really improved, my offensive confidence went up. But I also have to say that I have many aspects to get better, starting with shooting from distance to extend my range, my right hand and a lot more.

I am impressed by your abnegation and engagement on defense and by your defensive fundamentals’ property: about what kind of defensive stuffs do you think you have still to improve?

I think I have got to be better in regards to something about team’s defense, reading my opponent’s game, making smart fouls.

You declared for the NBA draft. Which are in your opinion, for the growth of a youngster, the advantages offered by a competition like Euroleague that, instead, are not present in the NCAA basketball?

The main advantage is that in Euroleague a young player improves better and quicker on both ends of the floor. Basketball IQ grows a lot faster as well.

What do you think about the American world? I am not talking only about basketball, I would like to know your opinion about the American world in general.

American world for us, young people in Europe, looks like a truly different reality. There are a lot of opportunities in every single sphere, everyone looks happier, more confident.

Finally: choose one European player and one American player that inspire you.

I am going to choose Dimitris Diamantidis and Rajon Rondo.

Thanks a lot for your being polite. All the best!

You are welcome, thank you!