Hapoel Jerusalem made a bold move on Saturday by signing Lithuanian swingman Deividas Sirvydis to a long term 3-year contract. At only 19 years of age, Sirvydis (2.04m) has been featuring for Rytas Vilnius since 2017/18 when he shared the court with former Hapoel Jerusalem forward Travis Peterson who helped the Reds win the 2016/17 Israeli league title. Peterson spoke to The Sports Rabbi about the 2019 NBA draft selection who was taken by the Dallas Mavericks with the 37th pick in the second round and then moved him to the Detroit Pistons.
“He was the young kid!!” began Peterson about the youngest player to ever play for Rytas in the Lithuanian League and the Euroleague. “But you can see the talent!!!”
Peterson also spoke about Sirvydis’s talent on the court, “He will be good and in the NBA soon. I think he was 17 and he was a guy that came in and didn’t care that he was playing with us and would play his game.”
The former Jerusalem man was able to see the youngster’s abilities from the get go, “First practice, I told our assistant coach, he is going to be good. Great shooter, lefty, tall and can make decisions. He will keep growing in his skill and be really good I believe.”
“He was always a great person too! Good teammate, easy to be around, and willing to work to get better! If he keeps that mentality the sky is the limit with him.”
Peterson is certainly someone who knows what it means to wear the Hapoel Jerusalem uniform and believes Sirvydis will be able to adjust to playing in Israel’s capital city, “I think he will be fine! He is a guy that is good being put in a new situation. He is young so he might want a younger scene like Tel Aviv more than Jerusalem. But he will be fine!”
Sirvydis is already used to playing away from home and heading to Jerusalem shouldn’t require much of an adjustment period, “He was very professional and he was away from family when he was at Rytas. Same country but still away from home. So I think he will be good! He also will love the good weather!!!”