The stars of the Nike International Junior Tournament from the 2012 Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four in Istanbul, Turkey, will be well represented this week at the Nike Global Challenge as part of the World Basketball Festival 2012 in the American capital. Four players that won the 2012 NIJT title with Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius and seven from the Zalgiris squad that also competed in Istanbul and earlier won the Kaunas International Junior Tournament will join together on the Lithuanian under-18 national team that will be one of eight teams competing in the event in Washington D.C. The 16-game tournament features the top high school and under-19 players in the world. In addition to three teams made up exclusively of American players, the event will features squads from Brazil, Canada, China and Puerto Rico.
Leading the way for Lithuania from the Rytas system are Augustinas Jankaitis, who was Rytas’s leading scorer and rebounder in Istanbul; assist-leader Jokubas Gintvainis, shot-blocker Denis Krestinin and three-point marksman Tomas Galeckas. Zalgiris shooting guard Tomas Dimsa, an all-tournament selection in Istanbul, is joined by Rokas Gustys, Marius Grigonis, Lukas Lekavicius, Justas Tamulis, Mantvydas Staselis and Simas Raupys from the Kaunas system. The only player on head coach Dalius Lubys’s roster not from either Rytas or Zalgiris is Benas Griciunas, who plays high school basketball in the United States. Lithuania is scheduled to play the tournament’s opening game on Friday, July 13, at 10:00 EST (16:00 CET) against Puerto Rico. The final is set for Sunday afternoon.