09-26-2006, 11:45 AM
OK, I got the interview, here it goes.
Magazine "Krepšinis" ("Basketball"), which goes as an annex to "Lietuvos Rytas" daily on Tuesdays. Translation from today's number (26 Sept 2006). Interview from Macas taken by the journalist Rita Stankevičiūtė.
Arvydas, after the unsuccessful season in the NBA, you were talking about wanting to prove that you deserve more than warming the bench. You'll have to wait for such a moment due to the recent injury. Or maybe you feel you proved something in the World Championship in Japan?
There was nonsence going on the the WC, it's a totally different matter to be playing for "Olympiakos".
In the training sessions and matches with the Greek club, I felt my game here was entirely different from the one in Lithuanian NT. In the club, I know my place, I know the overall structure. The game differs like a day from a night.
I'm very glad about having come to Greece. Everything is ideal here: the conditions, the coach, the basketball. I couldn't even think everything could be so nice.
In the WC, to the contrary - we were just running from corner to corner, without understanding what was going on.
You didn't know what to do in the court?
I think no one knew what to do. Everyone was running from corner to corner. I'm not saying this is a fault of the coaches or somebody else. But everyone feels sorrow. From the fans to the players.
How do you take head coach Sireika's words, that the performance of the NT was good, if not to take into account the second match with Turkey?
We were lucky in the quarter-final with Italy - I think we should have lost. Considering how we played, how our game looked - we deserved to lose. Even though we played probably our best game in the tournament, it was luck that we won.
If the coach didn't manage to direct the game, did the players try to remedy the situation themselves?
It's hard for players to manage the situation. They don't interfere with such things. There are 12 players, 12 different characters, 12 differeng opinions. There must prevail one opinion, one goal, one understanding.
Basketbal is composed of about 50 basic situations, and you won't invent anything new. There's pick-and-roll, situations in the corner or near the baseline, running through picks... The players have to follow coach's orders and not interfere.
There was information in the press that I had bad words with Sireika, that we are in a conflict - but this is not true.
How do you see yourself in the future, playing for the NT, coached by Sireika?
To say the truth, I hardly see myself playing for the NT. Despite my love for Lithuania, the fans... It's hard for me to utter such words, but this was probably my last time in the NT.
Many things added up. My patience is over. I think this WC was my last participation in the Lithuanian NT.
I don't want to be involved in this war for positions or whatever they're fighting for. I was silent for a long time, but some one has to tell the truth.
This started many years ago. If players get injured, the NT must be interested, must take care. I'm not talking primarily about financial matters - I mean moral support. I think it's important.
In this summer, when the press were writing about my pending leg surgery - guess, how many times anyone from the Federation rang me, asked if I needed any help? How's your leg, how your'e feeeling, Macas? There was a 70% probability that the surgery is required. No one called me, no one cared. Afterwards, in the summer, with 3 days left until the training camp, they would simply take the phone, call me and say: "Come to train".
The same was in the previous year, when I couldn't play for the NT because of a stretched leg. Did anyone check, make MRI, was anyone really interested what happened to that muscle? No one looked at it or checked. It's bruised? Everybody waved it aside, it was not interesting. I went to a hospital and made the tests for my own money. The price itself not that important, but I think paying several hundred litai (could be 100-200 EUR) is not such big sum for the NT. I don't know who's responsible for that. I suppose it's the doctor, but it's better not to say a word about the NT doctor... Such is the understanding... It's all very strange... You use your own money to make tests, you get the information that your muscle is torn and you can't play. Then - everybody starts to move.
I suffered a serious injury now. It's hard. Many people support me, call me. Bud who called from the Federation, from the NT coaches?
Except for Kęstutis Kemzūra (assistance coach of NT) and Aleksandras Kosauskas (physical preparation trainer of NT), no one called. Not other coaches, no managers. I know when to except the next call - in the middle of July, when the NT training camp starts, they'll inform me about that. I think I won't be going anymore.
This year, Simas Jasaitis had the same situation. It was visible that he had a torn leg muscle. He underwent tests, paying his money, and learned that the muscle is indeed torn. I think NT doctors are responsible for such matters.
It's hard for me to comment, but it's a total mess over there. Starting with elementary medicine. Not to speak about other matters. Just take elementary medicine. Do they really think that if you're not poor and earn some money, you must take care of your medical testing and other things yourself?
Do the same reasons make other players refuse to play for the NT?
I don't want to talk in the name of others. I feel sorrow. Sure, such injuries sometimes evoke even tears. Not a depression, but... I'm suprised how "Olympiakos" are taking care of me - owners, coaches, players. General managers spend long time in the hospital, almost holding me by the hand, asking how I feel. Everything is of superb level.
Meanwhile, in the NT... It's hurting to speak. A. Kosauskas, K. Kemzūra will always help, they write or call and encourage me: "Be strong, everything's gonna be OK".
The NT has wrecked my nerves. First, when no one even checked my leg condition before last year's Eurobasket in Serbia. Second - problems of my leg this summer.
I was on the brink of telling the truth before. But, to my opinion, if any player says it openly, many heads can roll. Many persons would be thrown out of the NT organisation. I thought - I'd better remain silent. I thought about possible talk: "Macijauskas rotted on NBA bench but feels like a star from America, he tries to prove something but is no good, and now he's looking for scapegoats". I know, some people might talk like that after this interview. But those, who need, will understand.
Many of those, turning in the basketbal circles, know all the situation, but no one dares to tell the truth. Those, who receive the flak, will be retorting in the way I described before: "Macas is out of form, he can't play and is looking for some one to blame".
I'm not looking for any one to blame. I didn't demonstrate the best game in the WC, but it was not easy. I take my share of the blame, but it's a game, where twelve play versus twelve. No, Macijauskas was not capable of scoring 30 points every time, drag the whole team to the final and win the silver. And Macijauskas doesn't have a 90 million dollar contract, like Dirk, who indeed was able to drag Germany to the final last year in Serbia.
We played like losers, now I got an injury, I'm not angry at anybody. I'm glad I played for the NT, and it was fun overall, but the situation there must be changed. I'm not having a friendly attitude now.
Now you say it was your last time with the NT. But if, say, K. Kemzūra or another coach becomes the head coach of the NT - maybe the situation would change?
I don't know. It's not the coach's fault that a player doesn't get an MRI done. If a player asks about that, the chief doctor almost starts to yell - it's just a bruise, what do you know about it, you fool.
It's not the coach's fault. The coach is responsible for the game of the NT, he receives salary for that.
I don't know what other persons do for their salaries of 10 thousand LTL in the NT. I don't want to bash Algimantas Pavilonis, but it's strange to me. I don't know what university education you have to complete in order to receive an official salary of 10 thousand in a position, partially funded by the State. I don't know how much our Premier or factory managers earn, but 10 thousand for an employee - it's fantastic money.
Menwhile, coaches earn more. But it's sport, you don't have to involve them here. There's an offer to a coach, he can agree or disagree.
You think there must be funamental changes to the order and system of Lithuanian basketball?
All are fighting, quarelling and scrapping. I don't care who will be in the NT, who will the leading heads. There are many nuances.
You're only 26 years old. You really want to say "never" to the NT?
At this moment I really think I don't want to play in the NT. Despite my love for Lithuania, our fans... I know people cry in the homes and bars when we lose ... they also cry with joy when we win...
I'm hurt to say such words. No, it's not the tears in my eyes, but my voice is trembling, I'm very emotional. I feel very sore inside.
But I can't go to a mess. I know most of the NT players think the same. It has to be said. Someone swallowed it with silence, I'll be the first one. It's not important what others will think, that they'll be angry, will stop saying hello to me, will speak behind me back. I'm not afraid of that. I know I told the truth, and it's only for the better. For me and for the others.
I'm still young, but the new generation will come, everything will be OK for sure. It'll be better for Lithuania, for Lithuanian basketball. Trust me.
This article will be of use. There'll be sorrow, lots of anger, I'll be blamed. Let them do it. Nothing is invented in my words, it's pure truth. When everything is put in order, all will be happy.
After the WC, you started preparations for the new season in "Olympiakos". It didn't last long - but can you comment what you felt about "Olympiakos" game plan, Gershon's requirements in that week?
I was in a psychological down after the WC. The coach gave me a rest of 6 days - but everyday I went to the training sessions anyway and I wondered - can this really be so that I don't know how to play basketball? I was perplexed.
There are cases when players get injured and fall out for a year, two years. For instance, Lavrinovič brothers had a misadventure, they had to pass 3-4 years without basketball, but now they play at the highest level.
When I arrived to "Olympiakos", I felt that everything is superb. We we working a lot and in a clever way. Training sessions were very good, I was very glad from the start. But when it goes too well, beware of a danger. And it hapened to me. Returning will be difficult. But I think I'll be all right by the start of the play-offs.
What will be your life rhythm in the upcoming 4 months?
When 10 days pass after surgery - this Saturday - they'll take the plaster off. Treatment procedures will start. I'd like to keep my leg in plaster for as short as possible, I want to start healing with procedures, massages. After 3 months, I'll be able to run, after 3 and a half - to rehearse plays with the team. No, it's not the same as with Arvydas Sabonis. When his Achilles went broken, they kept his leg in plaster for 2 months, and it became totally atrophied. Sure, mine will be somewhat atrohpied as well, but I believe everything will be good. The team believes also.
I'm waiting impatiently for the procedures to start. Then I'll be doing some activities - I want sincerely to work. Rehabilitation is the most important thing after such an injury.
Do you know why your Achilles tendon broke just like that, on a level place? Such injuries can't happen with no reason.
Hard to tell. I hadn't had any problems with that leg before. Some little pains, but they'd go away quickly. Very strange.
Will the injury have on impact on your contract with "Olympiakos"?
The contract concerns official matters, I'm not going deep into them. Before, there've been various cases with Greek clubs, but "Olympiakos" has new owners now, who changed the established order. Everything is fine and can't be better.
You were scheduled to leave hospital and go home the next day after surgery, but you stayed in the hospital longer. Why?
I simply didn't want to go to the hotel myself. First night, it was very painful. It fell out of my head that I could call a nurse who would inject some pain killers. So, after narcosis, I stayed awake and suffered the whole night. The next day I was told I can go home. But I thought - what will happen, if the pain comes again, what will I do in an unknown country?
I decided to stay in hospital for one more night. On Friday, I moved from the hotel to house. Now I've learn to make injrections of painkillers into my belly myself. It's very easy and not painful.
With my leg lifted up, I watch some TV, get on the floor and make push-ups. I try not to wimp out.
What kind of home did you choose in Greece?
I'm not a sybarite, don't require much. But "Olympiakos" tried very much to please me, they found a small house in a beautiful location. I can't imagine a better place in Athens. The house is more beautiful than mine in Lithuania. It's surrounded by moutains, and you can see the sea in the windows. A calm area, the population are not youngsters. I like such calmness. The only problem is that you need to drive half an hour to the arena, the district is on the outskirts of the city.
Anyway, the club tried so hard for me, that I want to play already in a month and return thanks for all the support.
Your girl friend Viktorija also came to Athens?
She is here, and my parents are coming in Tuesday. I need some support, so my parents will be here for a couple of weeks.
Do you maintain contacts with your former team-mates in "Lietuvos Rytas" - Ramūnas Šiškauskas and Robertas Javtokas, who are with "Panathinaikos" now?
We still didn't have time to meet, because they were in Cyprus with Pao. But we talk on the phone, and when they have free time, they'll come to visit me.
Could this last year be called the most unfotunately in your life?
There was nonsense in America, nonsense in the WC, now this injury. But now I'm glad to be at "Olympiakos". On Wednesday, the Greek Cup is starting, the first match is versus "Panathinaikos". We need to win this.
Will you go to the arena to be with your team?
Certainly. There'll be no audience because of sanctions, I'll be the only fan. Yes, I'll throw coins and lighters. And will try to hit Javtokas. :)
09-26-2006, 04:39 PM
don't know what to make of that ... :rolleyes:
That Lietuvos rytas has detereorated to yellow press, maybe? the title of the interview is cheep. Rytas seem to be very confused regarding our basketball governing bodies or (more likely) they're just looking to gather more attention and sell more papers, simple as that.
I personally am somewhat dissapointed that Macas' analysis is so shallow. he sees problems, but is unable or unwilling to name the reasons. as far as interpretations go, I read this like a month or two before - fire Pavilonis, give more power to Federation when it comes to all matters NT (distribute the responsability) and find a new coach. on the other hand, maybe if they replaced Pavilonis with somebody loyal to Federation or at least a better administrator (Pavilonis has way too many double standards), things would improve without any further reforms. although they should really rethink when and how best players should be invited to the camp and how late can they be. on the other hand, maybe some strict sanctions for careless nonparticipation should be put in place as well. right now the NT seems too loose, there's no order whatsoever.
the matter is really slippery..
09-27-2006, 07:19 AM
Speaking of the Federation - I find it hard to believe that Garastas, Šalūga or any of them would manage to make things work better. :rolleyes:
mabe yes, maybe no. I believe if they all (The Fund and the Federation, that is) took part in the NT forming process (from players, to coaches, to staff), they would not be able to blame each other for the failures and would be forced to work hand in hand. besides, that would undoubtedly bring more order to the NT. I mean, who is held responsible for what and who must do what and when. the doc must react to players concerns and report on the results in xx days, the players must be informed about the invitation to the camp no less than XX days before it starts by certain mr. AAA and mr. BBB, they must appear at the camp no less than XX days before the tournament, unless they were allowed by camp organisers to be late by YY days because of reasons a), b), c), and so on and so forth. this could help somewhat..
also if they decide to leave the powers in the Fund's hands, the matters should be made public. right now there's too much interpretations going on as to why they invite this guy, but not that guy and stuff.. this relates to the aforementioned lack of order (or the impression that there's a lack of order).
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