Edgaras Ulanovas dreams of playing in Final Four in Kaunas

2022-12-02 14:20

Edgaras Ulanovas talks about what it means for Kaunas to host the upcoming EuroLeague Final Four, his experience with Fenerbahce, and various post-retirement ideas. 

Credit: Erikas Ovčarenko/BNS
Credit Erikas Ovčarenko/BNS

As Kaunas seems to inevitably receive the rights to host the upcoming EuroLeague Final Four, Zalgiris Kaunas captain Edgaras Ulanovas reveals that it would be special to take part in it.

"For starters, our goal was to make the playoffs. We are not the team that has to carry the weight of reaching the Final Four," Ulanovas told Antonis Kalkavouras from gazzetta.gr. "There are lots of organizations that haven't done it more than once! Of course, when you're playing well, you are en route to the playoffs, and you learn that the Final Four will be hosted in your arena, it's normal that you think and dream about it."

"The event itself will be the sports event of the year for our country, not just for Kaunas! It will be fantastic if we can do it, but at the moment, it is too early to think about it. We have so many things to improve on to reach the level that we can consider it as an extra motivation for us," he added.

Edgaras Ulanovas

Edgaras  Ulanovas
Team: Zalgiris Kaunas
Position: SF
Age: 30
Height: 199 cm
Weight: 99 kg
Birth place: Kaunas, Lithuania

In the modern EuroLeague history, Zalgiris made the Final Four only once, back in 2018, during the Sarunas Jasikevicius era. Can Zalgiris do it again this year?

"Now that mention it, I can tell you that in this year's team, I see some similarities with the one in 2018 that reached the Final Four," Ulanovas said. "I want to say that we achieved big wins after bad defeats, and this shows the character we have. This is what also characterized that great Saras team. I hope we reach the playoffs because then we will be in the Final Four race."

The newly appointed Zalgiris captain also talked about his new responsibility and what it's like to replace a legendary Paulius Jankunas.

It is certainly a great honor and, at the same time, an even greater responsibility to be the captain of my hometown's team!" Ulanovas admitted. "Game by game, I'm getting used to it, and I love having that role of being the coach's voice on the court and in the locker room."

"Sometimes I needed to shout, but in general, I have a very good relationship with all the guys, and I try to convey my experience to them to serve the team's best interest. A good captain, after all, can be seen from the atmosphere in the dressing room and between the players. So, from that point of view, everything is going well so far," continued the 30-year-old.

Ulanovas has been a Zalgiris member since 2014, with the exception of the 2020-21 season when he represented Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul. Despite an unsuccessful stint with the Turkish powerhouse, Ulanovas remembers it in a positive way.

"Great experience!" said Ulanovas. "I remember all the moments I spent in Istanbul. I met great people and made friends on and off the court. I really liked that I got in touch with a completely different culture of life."

"It was a difficult season on the court because I was out half my time there due to injury, and when I came back, I had lost my rhythm, and it was difficult for the coach to trust me. 

Although we agreed to terminate the contract, I have only positive memories. At Fenerbahce, I learned what it's like to be an athlete in a foreign country and adjust to different conditions," Ulanovas continued.

Finally, Ulanovas was also asked whether the media is the area that interests him since the 30-year-old is one of the investors of the BasketNews.com website.

Credit D.Lukšta

"I may be an athlete who really likes to be informed and read basketball news and rumors in Europe and America, but I'm not so old to take another career path so soon! I'm still 30 and enjoying my career, so I like to think that I have at least 5-6 years of basketball left in me.

What will happen when I hang my shoes? I don't know yet! I'm not even ruling out becoming a coach! Being on the court and managing a team is preferable and perhaps easier for me than writing or talking about basketball.

If I'm not going in that direction [coaching], I'll seriously think about it anyway. Life can be funny whenever you're ruling out something. So, doing your job might be a possible option," Ulanovas concluded.


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