Vytautas coach calls Lavar a saint in interview, full translation here:
03/15 interview with Vytautas coach V.Seskus from:
Q: What is the situation with Balls? They could terminate your deal on Feb 8th, but its March and they are still here. How long will they stay?
The beginning was very hard. Waiting for them was not easy, that anticipation whats going to happen. First week was difficult. After that first week we realized we have try and do everything possible for them to stay at least until the end of the season. Its no secret our financial situation was not good, and they came and they drew some new sponsors and contributed themselves.
Everyone was expecting them to film a few episodes here and get bored in little village of Prienai, but I think they found a particular background for their show, to show other kind of life. They received huge attention, special Facebook streamed Ball brand tournaments... I think up to this point their time here has been successful.
Q: Lavar is a straight guy and he cares about his family first. Does he thinks about LKL standings or does he only cares about his own interest?
A: In the beginning it seemed they cared more about their business. The most important thing for him are his children, you could see that. With time, we had numerous conversations about these things and he gained that understanding that the team must remain in LKL and we cannot sacrifice everything. But talks remain talks, during gametime that ambition to show his kids is the most important thing and it surfaces again. Everything's fine in general, but here we face our biggest problem where we had to talk a lot with our other players.
Its not secret that now, especially Gelo, he understands European basketball and integrates into it well. Melo, he is only 16, its really tough for him. It was very hard, especially that first month, but one thing that helped us here a lot was financial side of this.
Q: Lavar is savior or undertaker of the club?
A: I strongly dont think he is undertaker. To be honest, the situation we had, if not for him, we would have lost 2-3 players. We have a chance to get out of last place, and he is more of a savior here. Sponsors who come over to us and give us funding, they have a full right to say things to me how things should be, give this player more minutes and so on. They do.
Obviously Lavar is way more intense than others with his input (smiles), but we have many examples in our game where financial matters dictate things on the court. He really helped us, he is one of our biggest sponsors now, Prienai municipality and them.
Q: Municipality gives 100k eur...
A: More, 150k.
Q: ... and we heard that Balls arrival solved your financial issues. What does that mean?
A: We had debt not only to players, we are finishing paying them off. Biggest debt was from previous season. We risked last season and gathered a good team. Its hard for Lithuanian basketball teams, lithuanians are good expensive players, taxes are big.
Q: Is it true that Ball arrival brought you 200k eur?
A: They gave us around 100k officially. In the beginning we discussed that they will help us somewhat, but when we added their logos everywhere, we received substantual funds. We receive revenue from Facebook streams as well, so the amount you mentioned we definitely achieved. This amount will help us to balance our books completely, we start next LKL season with an empty debt sheet if we stay in the league. Its a huge deal believe me.
Q: You mentioned first month was very hard, but we dont see that ideal friendship inside the club now as well, some players have their faces blurred on the show...
A: You talk about one player, Dimsa. I dont know how it happened. No one asked me to help with this situation, I only learned about this a couple of weeks ago, I would've tried to help if I knew. There are more important things than that.
That first month was hard not only with the Ball family, but the attention itself, media everywhere and so on. Our first game in Prienai together, against Pasvalys, we lost hopelessly and I was feeling very bad about it. Some fans were standing up and leaving arena, I stood there hurting and thought what are we doing here with all this.
We needed time, and time put things in their place, but in some moments some tensions remain.
Q: How to solve that? It seems there are two camps in the team.
A: We tried all kinds of ways. Its no secret that in the first month, like that lady journalist from USA wrote, she did not see me being hard on the boys. And I admit that until national teams rest window I gave huge discounts to Ball boys, for not returning to defense and things like that. And this did some harm to the team, because I had to be lenient with other team members as well. It would be unfair to punish some players for things other players are not punished for, because players feel these kind of things right away.
It got easier after that break, because some of our players recovered from injuries, and players themselves got more serious, understood that we have to stand up and fight in the league. Of course when you have like in the last game, a player missing shots but still playing a lot of minutes, players on the bench feel that and we have that possibility for tension sometimes.
Q: So you will solve that problem? Or maybe there is no problem anymore?
A: I'll tell you honestly, when only Gelo plays, that problem is much smaller. Its very little actually, he helped us win that game and so on. We have to remember Melo is 16. And he is a very talented kid, but he is young and he is in that spotlight of fame since 15, and its harder with him than with Gelo. I think for dad its same issue as well. But when Lavar knocks his fist on the table, everybody listens including us (laughs).
Q: Lavar critisizes everyone - NBA coaches, players, you. You act in a more reserved way, why?
A: They helped us in a difficult moment. People who help me and my club, they are like saints to me.
Q: Lavar a saint?
A: Yes, him and others who helped. If they would call me in the middle of the night, I would go and help them right away, thats the way I am. Basketball is my life.
People, knowing my character, expected confrontation, but I got more serious after turning 50. I understood that Lavar needs to talk like that, its his job basically. He called me brother more than once, called our relationship great.
Biggest problem is that he wants to play the style of basketball that was used in those BBB friendlies. Talks are not as important.
Q: Ball family play in their own tournaments with Lavar replacing Seskus as head coach. Then they leave to London, now they are in Barcelona. How to understand all that?
A: They went to London, we will play in London now. They went to Barcelona, we will play against Barcelona now (laughs).
They went to London during national teams break, this Barcelona trip was also preplanned.
Its not good honestly. I asked for at least LiAngelo to stay, they told me they will get ready for the game in 2 days when they get back. Its bad that no one else on the team have a privilege to do that. When they come back, we will need to talk that only those will have to play who are needed by the team.
Q: Lithuania is divided into two camps. One camp is happy with Balls being here, another calls your team a circus.
A: We received more advertising, not circus. A lot of people learned about Lithuania. Even bad advertising is better than nothing. They filmed worst things about Prienai in the beginning. But its not the end of the world.