Oct. 29, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina junior forward Laimonas Chatkevicius sat down with GamecocksOnline.com this week for our web series, “Starting Five With Laimonas Chatkevicius.” The series will highlight a different member of the Gamecock men’s basketball team with each edition. The junior averaged 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game last season.
Q: Why did you choose to attend South Carolina and play for Frank Martin?
A: I was originally going to go to Kansas State to play for Coach Martin, and when he changed schools I followed him here.
Q: What has it been like playing alongside Mindaugas Kacinas?
A: It’s really helpful. Sometimes, since I’m foreign, some people wouldn’t understand what I feel or go through or where I’ve been or what I’ve been through, so it’s good to have someone who has been through the same things.
Q: What professional player did you most enjoy watching while growing up?
A: One of the first big men I really started to watch, who actually played here [at South Carolina], was [Marius] Petravicius. Other than that, they were more of players from my town that introduced me to the game.
Q: What was it like growing up playing basketball at a high level in Lithuania?
A: It was a good experience. There was a lot of competition. Pretty much all we have is basketball. It’s the biggest sport so there’s a lot of competition, which is fun.
Q: Did it drive you seeing European, and specifically Lithuanian, players making it to the NBA?
A: Yes. The players that drove me are two Lithuanians that play [in the league] right now, Jonas Valanciunas and Donatas Montiejunas. They’re just a year and two years older than me. That kind of pushes me to reach that level. They had always been the top young prospects in Lithuania and they were going to the NBA at some point. I always wanted to follow in their path.
South Carolina hosts North Florida in its season opener on Nov. 14 at Colonial Life Arena. Tipoff is slated for 7 p.m., ET.