Hapoel Jerusalem officially unveiled Lithuanian Dainius Adomaitis as their new head coach replacing Oded Katash who heads to take over Panathinaikos in Greece after three years with the club.
The Reds new bench boss was most recently in charge of Rytas Vilnius and has also served in the same capacity with Neptunas Klaipeda and Juventus Utena in Lithuania as well as with Polish clubs Czarni Słupsk and Anwil Włocławek. In addition, Adomaitis led the Lithuanian National Team in both the 2019 World Cup in China and the 2017 Eurobasket which included their group stage games being played in Israel.
Jerusalem CEO Guy Harel welcomed Adomaitis to the team while also thanking the outgoing coach, “I want to thank Oded Katash for three exceptional years and wish him well. Today we begin the Dainius Adomaitis era. With a lot of work from management we moved fast to find a coach of stature and it’s a big honor that Dainius will be our head coach. We will give him all of the tools to succeed and we have a number of goals ahead.”
Adomaitis made his opening statements, “I know that the word Adom in Hebrew means Red and that’s a good start. I want to congratulate Oded Katash on his new position and I want to thank the heads of the club for the opportunity. I’m really happy that I am here, it’s a big honor to be the coach of Hapoel Jerualem. I’ve coached here before and I am familiar with the atmosphere.”
“Israel is one of the most beautiful countries and as a player I played here many times whether in Tel Aviv or in Jerusalem. People in the country have always been nice and helpful and my entire family was here for the 2017 European Championship. They said that if I ever receive the offer to come coach in Israel, we will go and that was good advice. I’m happy to be here.”
As for goals this season, Adomaitis wants to see his team work as hard as they can, “The goals are to reach the titles and make maximum effort of what we can do. We have to sacrifice and give 100% on the court. We will look at one game at a time. The club has huge ambitions every season we have to play to the end and fight for the titles.”
As for the personnel, Adomaitis has no plans on making any drastic changes, “I like what I saw and the team has a lot of talent and play with the right mentality. Katash did a good job as the players have been playing together. We will continue with this team for now.
“The team is first and foremost and everyone has to do everything necessary for the team, that is what the mentality has to be. We know our advantage and we will hide our disadvantages. We won’t play a different style but I will put some of my things in.”
One of the biggest challenges for any coach is to come to a team mid-season and take over the helm, but Adomaitis enters a situation where the team is playing well along with a proper support system in place, “For sure it’s a challenge and it’s not easy, the team is good and they play good basketball. The organization is perfect and one that is trying to help me.”
Adomaitis hasn’t coached outside of his native country in quite some time and understands that he will have to get used to the Israeli league and a different style of ball, “Basketball has been my entire life since I was 13 years old, practicing twice a day and playing professional since I was 17 years old. Basketball is similar everywhere and you play 5 on 5 with the same ball. But the Israeli league has specific things as does the BCL. I will have to go through that process.”