Saturday, October 3, 2009

BC Siaulai signed Zukauskas and Grafs

BC Siauliai made some major changes just as its Baltic League season begins by signing veterans Mindaugas Zukauskas and Raitis Grafs and releasing rookie Matt Kingsley. 

Zukauskas (201, 34) is a former Euroleague and European national champion. He had been training with Siauliai to keep in shape over the past month before deciding to sign with his hometown club. Zukauskas arrives from Italian side Scavolini Pesaro, where he has spent the past three seasons. He averaged 4.4 points and 2.2 rebounds in a reserve role last season, but kept his sweet shooting stroke from downtown, making 43.8% of his three-pointers. Before that Zukauskas spent five seasons with Montepaschi Siena, during which he appeared in two Euroleague Final Fours, won the Italian League once and the Saporta Cup once. He began his career at Siauliai before moving to Zalgiris in 1997 and helping it to the 1999 Euroleague crown as well as a pair of Lithuanian League titles and the 1998 Saporta Cup. Zukauskas later spent one season in Slovenia with Union Olimpija. As a member of the Lithuanian national team, Zukauskas won an Olympic bronze medal in 1996 in Atlanta and a gold medal at EuroBasket 2003 in Sweden. 

 Grafs (210, 28) takes over for Kingsley at center. Kingsley left the club due to personal reasons. Grafs comes from ASK Riga, where he averaged 9.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the Eurocup last season. Grafs has played four previous Eurocup campaigns. He began his career at Broceni Riga in his native Latvia and has since played college basketball in the United States at Valparaiso University and professionally in Belgium for Oostende, in Poland for Slask Wroclaw and back in Latvia for Ventpsils. Among his career achievements are winning the Latvian League three times, the Polish Cup one and representing Latvia at EuroBasket four times.

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