Credit: BNS
Credit BNS

Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz forward Tadas Sedekerskis, who has made a strong start to the new season, has two homes. The first is his place of birth, a geographically unique town called Nida at the westernmost point of Lithuania.

Located on a small spit of land between a freshwater lagoon and the Baltic Sea, it is a tiny place with a population of less than 3,000 that swells considerably when thousands of tourists flock for a few days at the seaside.

“It is a super-small town, but probably the most beautiful place in Lithuania,” Sedekerskis told the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague about Nida. “We have the sea and it’s the perfect place to go for a summer vacation, to spend some time with your friends and enjoy the beach and the sun. I think it’s the best place to grow up in Lithuania. It’s very nice, calm, with a good community so it’s perfect for kids to grow up.”

Despite his affection for Nida, however, Sedekerskis was compelled to leave the town at a young age because it was simply too small to accommodate his growing basketball ambitions.

“I started playing basketball because of my parents, who are big basketball fans,” he explained. “They never played at a high level but they always followed every Zalgiris game and national team game, so I was watching basketball all the time on TV from a young age. That’s how I fell in love with the sport and when I started first grade at school I started playing.

“I was really tall for my age, the tallest in my class, and I was doing pretty well and loved playing. So my parents decided that if I wanted to play seriously I needed to go to a bigger city to find a basketball school where I could develop because we didn’t have that in Nida.”

2-pointers this season

Points made: 16,8
Accuracy: 48,9%
Place in standings: 16
Record max: 21
Record min: 13
Most made 2FGs: Rokas Giedraitis

So the family decision was taken to relocate Tadas, then just 12 years old, to the nearest sizeable city, Klaipeda.

“For the first two years I was traveling there and back after school, two or three times a week, an hour each way,” Sedekerskis recalled. “Then after two years of doing that, I moved to Klaipeda permanently with my father. We spent the week there and then came home to Nida after the games at the weekend.”

But his time in Klaipeda would prove to be short-lived because he soon started to attract interest from much further afield.

“Baskonia started following me when I was 14,” he revealed. “I think my agent sent some videos to the Spanish teams, and Baskonia were interested. So they brought me over for a trial and I did pretty well.

But my family thought it was too young for me to leave the country and move to Spain, so I stayed for one more year in Lithuania. We were negotiating the contract details and by the time I was 15 I was pretty ready. I wanted to make the step and I think it was the right decision.”

Moving 3,000 kilometers to a brand-new country as a teenager is a daunting prospect, but Sedekerskis said that he was far too busy to stop and think about the enormity of the transition he had undertaken.

“It was a big move, you know, but when I came to Vitoria, I had no time to think about it, how I missed my family, how I missed my friends, the closest ones, because we had so many practices, all the time: school, practice, gym, practice. I was coming back home super-tired, so just sleep, and then again school, practice, practice.

“There was no time just to sit on the bed and think how much I missed home. We were spending so many hours in the gym. Time was flying along so fast, and then Christmas came so I could go back home and see my family. But my basketball technique was improving, my body was improving and I was happy.”

There was, therefore, never any question that Sedekerskis would abandon his new destination and return to his beloved Nida. Instead, he committed himself to his ambitions and ended up finding another place to call his own.

“For nine years, Baskonia and Vitoria have been my home,” he asserted. “I say it’s like my second home, a new home. It’s a beautiful city and we also have the sea one hour away. It reminds me a little bit of my town because it’s super-calm and very green. It’s a great place for a basketball player to concentrate on what you’re doing.

“I feel comfortable here. I have friends here, all the members of Baskonia, all the workers, I know them so well. I’m really happy, I’m glad that I also signed a new contract for three more years. I just want to win something, win some trophy with them.”

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Tadas Sedekerskis

Tadas  Sedekerskis
Team: TD Systems Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz
Position: SF, PF
Age: 23
Height: 206 cm
Weight: 101 kg
Birth place: Neringa, Lithuania