Rytas Vilnius comes off an important season in which the team lived up to the expectations, being competitive everywhere and giving young talents plenty of quality playing time. Rytas struggled early in the 7DAYS EuroCup Regular Season, losing three of its opening four games. Chris Kramer, who was the regular season assist leader, and Rokas Giedraitis stepped up for Rytas, which went on to win five of the next six games to qualify for the Top 16 second in its group with a 6-4 record. Two narrow losses – at home against Zenit St. Petersburg and on the road against Fiat Turin – to start the Top 16 doomed the team, which finished the phase with a 1-5 record. Rytas was also strong in domestic competitions; it reached the Lithuanian Cup title game and returned to the Lithuanian League finals after a two-year absence. Zalgiris Kaunas, in its strongest season this century, prevented Rytas from winning a domestic title this season. Zalgiris downed Rytas 81-62 in the Lithuanian Cup final and 4-1 in the best-of-seven Lithuanian League finals. Now, Rytas hopes to keep growing in its 11th EuroCup season.
This season will be Rytas Vilnius's sixth straight in the EuroCup and 11th overall and during that time the club has made a name for itself by winning the competition twice and getting to at least the semifinals on two other occasions. Founded in 1997, Rytas filled a hole left by what had been Vilnius's first great basketball club, Statyba. Quickly earning a reputation as a top Lithuanian team and a hard-to-beat squad at any level, Rytas made it to the 2000 Saporta Cup semifinals, reached the Northern Europe Basketball League (NEBL) final that season and won the Lithuanian League to break a decade of domination by Zalgiris Kaunas. After another pair of domestic crowns in 2002, Rytas made a successful ULEB Cup debut in the 2003-04 campaign by advancing to the quarterfinals and then truly made the big time by lifting the trophy in 2005 after beating Makedonikos in the EuroCup championship game behind Tyrone Nesby, Simas Jasaitis and finals MVP Robertas Javtokas. The win also earned Rytas a ticket to the 2005-06 EuroLeague, and in its debut, the team got to the Top 16 of Europe's marquee competition. Rytas also lifted the Baltic League and the Lithuanian League trophies that season. Rytas was back in the ULEB Cup Final in 2007 and though it lost to Real Madrid, the club earned its way back to the EuroLeague and successfully defended the Baltic League title. The teams reached the EuroLeague Top 16 in the 2007-08 season, but on the home front lost three domestic finals, all against Zalgiris. However, Rytas bounced back with its best season ever and lifted five trophies in 2008-09. Chuck Eidson was the 2008-09 EuroCup MVP and Marijonas Petravicius earned Final Eight MVP honors as Rytas rallied past Khimki Moscow Region in unbelievable fashion to win its second continental trophy. Rytas added all four possible domestic titles for a true dream season. In 2009-10, Rytas won the double in Lithuania and returned to the EuroLeague Top 16 in 2010-11. A year later the club made it to the EuroCup Finals, but lost against Valencia Basket in the semifinal. Over the past four years, Rytas has not advanced past the EuroCup eighthfinals and came up short of winning trophies with the exception of when it beat Zalgiris to win the 2016 Lithuanian Cup behind Antanas Kavaliauskas. After missing it for a couple of years, Rytas returned to the Lithuanian League finals last season, in which it also made it to the Lithuanian Cup title game. Once again Zalgiris stood in its way to success, but Rytas is back on track with a combination of young talent, dedicated management and diehard fans that could pay off well in the 2018-19 season.