EuroCup Stepping Stones: Ramunas Siskauskas

Feb 10, 2021 by Print
Ramunas Siskauskas - Lietuvos Rytas (photo

Ramunas Siskauskas authored a storied career on the European hardwood, during which he was a two-time EuroLeague champion, a EuroLeague MVP and a EuroBasket gold-medal winner. However, Siskauskas did not make his EuroLeague debut until age 26. Before that, he built his game in the capital of Lithuania. Siskauskas made his professional debut with Sakalai Vilnius in 1996 as an 18-year-old and turned heads with his crafty scoring ability and all-around skills. Rising domestic power Lietuvos Rytas came knocking on his door two years later. He debuted at the continental level by totaling 35 points and 10 rebounds in a two-game, total-points series against Aris Thessaloniki in the Round of 32 of the 1998-99 season, which Rytas lost to the eventual semifinalists. Over the next four seasons, Rytas became known as a team to be feared on the secondary continental scene as Siskauskas teamed with Arvydas Macijauskas, Robertas Javtokas and Simas Jasaitis to make a number of runs, including to the semifinals of the Saporta Cup in 2003. He also played on Lithuania's bronze-medal winning side at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and was his country's second-best scorer when it left Sweden as EuroBasket champion in 2003.

EuroCup experience

Rytas was among the 36 teams who took part in the 2003-04 ULEB Cup and Siskauskas was not only one of its best players as it reached the quarterfinals, but he also rose to the challenge in the elimination rounds. After Rytas finished atop its regular season group with an 8-2 record, Siskauskas averaged 20.5 points on 4-of-9 three-point shooting in a two-game sweep of Lukoil Academic Sofia in the eighthfinals. The opponent in the quarterfinals was Hapoel Jerusalem and Siskauskas tallied 20 points and 5 rebounds in a 7-point loss in Game 1 of the two-game, total points quarters in the Israeli capital. Siskauskas scored 18 on 4-for-5 three-point shooting in just 24 minutes before fouling out in Game 2 as Rytas's season came to an end despite an 81-80 victory. For the season, he averaged 14.6 points on 62.3% two-point shooting and 2.2 assists in 14 games.

What happened after

Ettore Messina brought Siskauskas to Benetton Treviso the following season and he would remain one of the best players in the EuroLeague for the next eight years. He helped Benetton reach the EuroLeague Playoffs and win the Italian Cup in his first season there and then captured the Italian League in his second. Panathinaikos Athens swooped in for Siskauskas in the summer of 2006 and he was again clutch in the biggest moments, including scoring 20 points in the championship game to edge CSKA Moscow 93-91. Messina reunited with Siskauskas the next season in Moscow and they won the EuroLeague by defeating Maccabi Tel Aviv at the 2008 Final Four in Madrid. He was the EuroLeague MVP that season after posting 14.0 points on 44.2% three-point shooting and 3.2 rebounds. Siskauskas would play in championship games with CDKA again in 2009 and 2012 before retiring as a player.

Siskauskas averaged 11.6 points on 41.9% three-point shooting in 143 career EuroLeague games with three clubs. He was a four-time All-EuroLeague selection and the 2007-08 EuroLeague MVP. Siskauskas captured domestic league championships in Lithuania, Italy, Greece and Russia and domestic cups in the latter three countries. I addition to his EuroBasket gold and Olympic bronze medals, he also won a bronze medal at EuroBasket 2007. Siskauskas was named a Euroleague Basketball Legend in 2014.