Nedas Cholevinskas taking next steps with first BBL points -

Nedas Cholevinskas taking next steps with first BBL points

Nedas Cholevinskas Surrey Scorchers

March 22nd, 2024. A date to remember for British basketball prospect Nedas Cholevinskas after he registered his first professional points for the Surrey Scorchers in the British Basketball League.

The 18-year-old signed for Surrey last month following an unhappy spell in Lithuania with Rytas Vilnius II, and though he is suiting up for the Scorchers, is also eligible to play for affiliate club Cobham Cobras in NBL Division 3.

Nedas is cherishing his start in the pro league.

“I’ve always wanted to play in the BBL,” he told Hoopsfix.

“I’ve never really wanted to fly out anywhere, I kind of wanted to stay in England and play here so now that I’ve actually got to do it, it’s great.

“I was a little kid eight, nine years-old saying I wanted to play in the BBL and now I’m actually doing it so it feels good.”

His points may have come in a 125-84 loss to the Newcastle Eagles, but that’s besides the point for Basketball England’s U18 Men’s National Player of the Year.

“I was nervous,” he confessed. “I’m not going to lie, especially when there were a lot of fans in Newcastle but once you start playing the nerves go away because I’ve played more than a thousand games of basketball in my life.”

Of these thousand games included an MVP award at the Hoopsfix All-Star Classic 2023 where he tallied 21 points and eight rebounds. The small forward was also named MVP of the EABL South Conference for Barking Abbey and led his team to the EABL National Championship last year.

“It was around that time, when I was doing well in the EABL and NBL Division 1, I started believing I had something going on. Before the 2023 I had, I wasn’t thinking that highly of myself.”

From Barking Abbey, he made the move to Rytas Vilnius II, Lithuania.

“It was tough because I didn’t get a lot of playing time and I didn’t really know why. I didn’t really feel wanted. Living there was alright because it is my home country, it was just the basketball side of it.”

The former Baltic (now London) Star grew up in the capital with basketball-mad Lithuanian parents, although he almost took up a different sport.

“They’re probably more into basketball than me to be honest. My mum, my brothers, and the whole family are into it. They’re just straight basketball and follow the Lithuanian league and EuroLeague.

“But at first my dad took me to judo, luckily it turned out I was too young. So I told my dad I wanted to do basketball and he got me into a basketball club instead and it went from there.”

Now the young British talent has the chance to hone his game in Surrey alongside experienced teammates such as two-time BBL MVP Justin Robinson and South Sudan international Padiet Wang.

But it was another Scorchers name he would want to mould his game on.

“Out of the BBL it would probably be Andrew Lawrence,” he responded when asked about players he gains inspiration from.

“He has played at a very high level throughout his career and I get to see in practice and when he plays, he’s on a whole different level. They way he makes decisions: he can score whenever he wants, he can get to his spot or he can make a pass. He reads the game very well. Even in practice, I try to copy a lot of things he does.”

With a 13-18 record, Surrey are currently stood seventh in the BBL standings and look to be play-off bound. The final rounds of fixtures will determine the post-season match-ups and run to the finals.

“I’m waiting until we play the Lions. They are the team in England right now that are at the very top so I feel playing in their environment would be quite good for my experience.”

The sharpshooter is also hopeful for the future internationally. During the 2023 FIBA U18 European Championship Division B he averaged 14.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for Great Britain.

“There’s a lot of potential. You could see that last year when we should have won FIBA U18 European Championship Division B but we had a very unlucky game in the quarter-final.

“You could see the chemistry that year, thanks to the coaching as well of Alan Keane. He was onto us the entire camp but there’s a lot of talent. Including the guys playing in America, GB could actually have a very dangerous team,” concluded Cholevinskas.

Only just starting his ascent, he knows what it is going to take.

“It’s just hard work.

“Even though I’ve never been crazy talented, I just never left the gym. Even the people that are around me just tell me I have to keep working harder. That’s where the success I have had has come from, it wasn’t because I was born talented I have just been spending a lot of time in the gym.”

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