Georgios Dedas confident that Rytas can aim higher in BCL: “We are not satisfied yet”

2022-01-19T17:19:49+00:00 2022-01-19T20:53:27+00:00.


19/Jan/22 17:19

Rytas Vilnius assistant coach Georgios Dedas talks to Eurohoops about the team’s success in the Basketball Champions League this season and its aspirations after the regular season

By Achilleas Mavrodontis, Antigoni Zachari/

Basketball runs deep in the Dedas family. Brothers Georgios and Stefanos have both followed coaching steps and both happened to compete in the Basketball Champions League, with Rytas Vilnius and AEK respectively this season.

Eurohoops caught up with the older of the two brothers and Rytas Vilnius assistant coach, Georgios Dedas, to discuss the Lithuanian team’s surprising and successful presence in the 2021-22 season, which has already exceeded the expectations and set off for new goals.

Dedas, 42, took on coaching duties in 2016, shortly after retiring from playing professional basketball. In the course of six years, he has served as an assistant coach in AEK, Trikala, Olympiacos (next to David Blatt), and Avtodor Saratov, before landing in the Lithuanian capital in 2020 to join the staff of -now-former- head coach Donaldas Kairys.

Next to Giedrius Zibenas, Dedas and the rest of the team were called to face a big challenge this season and came through victoriously to enter the Basketball Champions League Round of 16.

“The truth is that as soon as the groups became known, they did not even give us hope for a victory“, Dedas tells Eurohoops. Burgos was the back-to-back champions, Oldenburg is a traditionally good team in Germany and Besiktas has marquee players. Nobody gave us a chance, but seeing our team and how we play, we were sure that we would be among the contenders. We have reached the point of playing with Burgos for the first place. The thing is that after securing a playoffs spot, we were afraid that the players might relax, but it was the complete opposite. They prepared even better and concentrated for the game with Burgos. This gave us coaches the confidence that we would win. We also took advantage of the bad situation of Burgos and won”.

Rytas ultimately had the chance to relax before the Christmas holiday season, having secured their place in the next round and with the next game scheduled for January 26, there has been plenty of time to prepare.

“We’ve been thinking about it”, Dedas states. “We would have games now and we would be stressed during the holidays. This gave us a tremendous time to prepare because we also have games in Lithuania. We have already started a training program to be ready at the end of the month”.

The pandemic has affected nearly everything and the basketball world was no exception. More specifically, the BCL decided to change the format with groups consisting of four teams, while the games are set to take place week by week. This change was helpful for the teams, as it enabled them to rest and prepare properly. As Dedas mentions, “We were lucky with that because we can prepare more comfortably and train more. The BCL showed a great reflex”.

Rytas may already be successful in the Basketball Champions League, but that does not mean that the team doesn’t have more aspirations for the season. “Of course, we are not satisfied yet. We are already looking at the teams we will meet in the Round Of 16. We want to make an even better course and we have aspirations”, tells Dedas.

Dedas already has experience as an assistant, but is he ready to take on head coaching duties? “My little experience and based on what I have seen from my brother, it is conjunctural to become a head coach”, he explained. “One can say that he is ready while he isn’t. What I can tell you is that the friction I have had since last January, with an active role in the preparation of the games, in the selections, in how the team plays, and to be accepted by the players, is a big plus for my self-confidence”.

Rytas Vilnius faces SIG Strasbourg next Wednesday (January 26, 18:30 CET) for their inaugural BCL Round of 16 presence.