Skucas ready to lift Utena at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Jeddah Final
UTENA (Lithuania) - Not many players can come into the FIBA 3x3 pro circuit and dominate from the first minute. Zygimantas Skucas is putting that to the test.
The Lithuanian from upstart Utena Uniclub (LTU) was one of the most impressive players at the Doha Masters, leading the field in P-VAL per game (8.5) and Shooting value (26), earning a place on the Team of the Tournament.
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But before this most recent Masters, the last time Skucas found himself on the World Tour was back in 2013 in Prague. A few of his friends were playing for Kaunas and needed a fourth.
“They asked me to go and I was there, but we were very weak there and lost everything,” he said with a smile. The team did go on to lose every game, but from then until now, he has seen the game grow a lot.
In years past he described certain 3x3 events as “no blood, no foul” but since he began playing again, he has enjoyed being back on the 3x3 court. “The rules are not as tough anymore and it will be an Olympic sport. It’s not exactly like in the streets anymore.”
Skucas has played professionally throughout Lithuania, with a few 3x3 events mixed in. He re-emerged on the scene at the Hoptrans 3x3 League, winning the first 2 stops. It was just a preview of things to come.
At the Doha Masters, Skucas, aka ‘The Lithuanian Rodman’, was active on the offensive and defensive ends, giving Utena an edge. They were once again a tough out, finishing third overall. Not only was he knocking down 2-pointers, but he can be seen even using his shoe to play defense, a testament to his playing style and attitude. This dude was leading the field in all categories, including technical fouls...
While he didn’t watch much of Dennis Rodman growing up, he can relate to one important part of his game.
“I’m a fighter. I’ve gone on the floor a thousand times a year for 20 years, and my body is starting to feel that,” he said with a smirk.
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He also loves to get the crowd involved in games. While most of his crowd work has been during basketball games, he knows how important they can be to a team’s success.
“With the crowd, I usually interact with myself, with opponents, and with my teammates and the crowd sees that.” When fans once again return in mass to the 3x3 stadiums, they are sure to be entertained by his playing passion and the energy he brings to the court.
Though he still considers himself a basketball player, Skucas has been confident with his 3x3 play so far and believes he is in perfect shape for the format.
“When we were kids, we played 3x3 a lot so maybe it’s more suitable. I’m working on having fast movements because there are a lot of fast guys in 3x3 so right now I’m in good shape.”
Utena Uniclub heads into the World Tour Jeddah finals as the 12th seed, on December 18-19, once again underdogs. With players like Skucas playing at the top of their game, there is nothing stopping them from once again shocking the 3x3 world and making a run at the title.