So, what have my peeps been up to since I wrote that post in 2008?
Zydrunas Ilgauskas, from Kaunas
Drafted in 1996, Ilgauskas currently averages 6.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 0.3 assists per game.
Linas Kleiza, from Kaunas
#11–Small Forward–Toronto Raptors
In 2005, after completing his sophomore year at the University of Missouri, Kleiza was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers and immediately traded to Denver. In 2009, he was with Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece and in 2010, he signed with the Toronto Raptors. He’s a regular on the Lithuanian national team, which won bronze in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. In early 2011, he had microfracture surgery on his right knee (this is the same thing Kenyon Martin has had twice and it’s a big deal). He hopes to be ready to play by the start of the 2011-12 season.
Darius Songaila, from Marijampole (My dad is from there!)
#25–Power Forward–Washington Wizards
Drafted in 2002 by the Boston Celtics, Songaila also has played for Sacramento and Chicago. He currently averages 1.8 points, 1.0 rebounds, and 0.2 assists per game.
Andris Biedrins, from Riga, Latvia
#15–Center–Golden State Warriors
Biedrins was drafted in 2004 by Golden State. He currently averages 5.0 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game. He’s the second Latvian player in NBA history.
There should be more Lithuanians (and another Latvian) in the NBA after the 2011 draft. Here are the prospects:
Jonas Valanciunas, from Utena
Predicted: #4 to Washington Wizards (ESPN); #3 to Toronto Raptors (DraftExpress.com, profile here); he gets a favorable write-up on NBADraft.net but I don’t see a projection for him there
Mindaugas Kuzminskas, from Vilnius
Projected: second round/undrafted (ESPN)
Donatas Motiejunas, from Kaunas
Projected: late lottery (ESPN); #3 to Charlotte Bobcats (DraftExpress.net, profile here) #4 to Washington Wizards (NBADraft.net, profile here)
David Betrans, from Valmiera, Latvia
Projected: first round bubble (ESPN); #27 to New Jersey Nets from Los Angeles Lakers (DraftExpress.com, profile here) #39 to Charlotte Bobcats (NBADraft.net)
(No music today! I’m watching what I hope is not the last Nuggets game of the season.)