For the second time in its history, Lithuania managed to lift the title in Europe U18. From the Rinkeviciute, Labuckiene or Solopova generation, 14 years passed until Ugne Sirtautaite, Gerda Raulusaityte and Just Jocyte They took over. Quite a success in which this last player finds himself, brand new MVP and team leader, the great proper name of a good collective. After years of basketball coaching dominance and premature records, we take a look at his figure.
His performance against Spain in the final of Europe U18 This is the last of his exhibitions to date. Jocyte had 28 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 recoveries and just one loss for a total of 38 PIRs. The Spanish team, who had to resort to fouls to stop her, saw the young Lithuanian succeed 6 of her 11 shots from the field (54.5%)… and 16 of her 19 free throws. This exceptional performance on the key day confirmed what had already been anticipated since Lithuania secured their ticket to the final, the MVP. Jocyte ended up being the top scorer in the league (19.1), most popular (22.9), third highest assistant (6.9) and in TL marked (45/52), the 12th in recoveries (2.1) and the 14th maximum rebounder (7.1).
Her superb U18 records, harvested a year younger than the vast majority of players, were quite similar to those she achieved in 2019 European U16s. There, barely 13 years old (his birthday is November 19), he goes to the 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists, but a Russia led by the very young Anastasiia Kosu qualified in the final en route to the trophy. The same as Lithuania had never seen so close.
The art of hindsight.
Just Jocyte (13) in Europe U16. pic.twitter.com/4iNRxM3tw0
— Luis Vallejo (@Lvallejocolom) September 1, 2019
But then, it turns out that Juste Jocyte is still the same three years later? No. His split and assisted readings have improved significantly, added more pragmatism to his game, the strength to withstand contact and the pleasant control of his temper benefited the group. What hasn’t changed? Their scoring abilitybouncing, leading, sound extreme competitiveness (sometimes resulting in demands placed on the rest of his colleagues) and the make your best match in the tournament final. As if the pressure brought out her best face.
Along the way, from one championship to another, Jocyte’s life has also changed a lot. To live in Lithuania and try with other teams like Stella Azzurra in Rome, to sign a long-term contract in France. Tony Parker, with the necessary means to offer her an attractive plan at all levels, conquered the rest of the continent (the interest of agents and teams was immense) and took the young Lithuanian to her academy at ASVEL. A center in which it has coexisted with other major projects such as Dominique Malonga (France) or Ajsa Sivka (Slovenia).
Since then, his rise has been meteoric. At the end of 2019, the Lithuanian became the youngest player in history in debut with the Lithuanian national team and in the modern Euroleague era (14 years and 29 days). And it was not a one-time thing, since his presence and his notoriety did not stop increasing in the first team. At 16, still a teenager, Jocyte played on average more than 10 minutes in the French championship and more than 14 in the Eurocup. Up to 7 times he exceeded 10 in rating. Yes, ahead of next season, his presence in the team is already confirmed. Fact known before but no less remarkable, since ASVEL will have an even more powerful roster if possible and only 10 players.
👧Juste Jocyte (Lithuania), just 15 years old, scored 8 points and distributed 4 assists against Turkey.
Eurobasket qualifying. absolute selections. First serious opinion of the young woman among professionals. pic.twitter.com/Sl73Mu6cNV
— Luis Vallejo (@Lvallejocolom) February 4, 2021
It’s hard to predict where his path may go in the future, but it’s true that such dominance has rarely been seen at his age. This same of we can enjoy (and suffer) in Spain twiceat least, during the following year: against IDK Euskotren in Eurocup and U19 World Cup, scheduled for next July in Madrid. Two quotes that are still part of the early history of the “Baby-Faced Assassin” (baby-faced killer), a nickname he happily appropriated when playing against juniors as a child and which sums up what he has been through on the European courts for the past four years.
Photo: FIBA – Just Jocyte
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