Greg Boeck from USA TODAY has an interesting article on Pacers’ Jasikevicius. “Great shooter, but too slow and unpolished with the basketball to make it in the NBA as a point guard.” That was the rap against Sarunas Jasikevicius (Shuh-RU-ness yah-sa-KEV-uh-chiss) coming out of Maryland in 1998. Even he bought into it. “I always said when I came out of college I was not good enough. I knew it. Everybody else knew it.”
Check again. In a return to the States that even he had just about given up on, the oldest (29) and most experienced rookie in the NBA is rewriting his basketball rap sheet with the Indiana Pacers. Armed with a three-year, $12 million deal and Larry Bird’s anointment as a “basketball player,” Jasikevicius has arrived with his feared jumper and big-game mentality as not only a rookie of the year candidate but as one of the NBA’s most dangerous sixth men.
The Pacers beat out the Utah Jazz and Cleveland Cavaliers, who offered a chance for Jasikevicius to play with his childhood friend and Lithuanian teammate, Zydrunas Ilgauskas.
“I felt Indy was more a chance of winning,” Jasikevicius says.
That’s what All-Star Jermaine O’Neal sold in recruiting Jasikevicius last summer: “I told him we have a team ready to contend right now and we feel the things he brings to the table fit in great.”
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