It can be so frustrating to watch Laimonas Chatkevicius. Every time he misses a shot from the paint – he did it four times in the first half on Wednesday – it’s pinching the area between your eyes and thinking, “Why don’t you just dunk it?”
Because that’s not his game. The 6-foot-11 Lithuanian grew up shooting from outside and despite being a junior, is still learning how to play inside in American basketball. Nights like Wednesday can be frustrating – but they can also be rewarding.
Chatkevicius had the best game of his career against UNC Asheville, targeted early and hitting late after a rough first half. He notched his first double-double and stroked two 3-pointers, also blocking three shots to go with his 13 rebounds.
Is he ever going to be the classic big man, posting up and effortlessly scoring with the layups and sky hooks? No. But if he can be as versatile as he was on Wednesday, the Gamecocks’ thin post game can benefit.
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“He used to be a heavy kid that couldn’t run,” coach Frank Martin said. “There are times mentally where he still thinks he’s a heavy kid that couldn’t run. But he’s worked his tail off to get in shape.”
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