“Representatives from seven different countries in one team. I think that it is possibly the most diverse professional team in the world!” - Marius Tamolis, Head Coach and LCC International University Basketball Program Director.
Marius is the coach who unites the diverse LCC students into one strong, professional team every year. His great passion for basketball directs his life. He studied and played basketball in the USA before working as an assistant coach, and has even coached the National team in Lithuania. Marius’ path has been a transformation from being a player to becoming the coach. Now he is sharing his vast experience with the multicultural LCC Moose Basketball team. Keep reading and learn from our interview with Coach Marius about the difficulties and successes he has had with the team.
Is it hard to create a good team at the beginning of the semester when new players arrive and they all have different experiences, practice approaches, and visions for the game? What are your team-building secrets?
Moose players are coming from different parts of the world but there is one thing which unites all of us - basketball. When I am recruiting players I usually talk to three different groups of people asking questions about the student. It is helpful for me to understand a player from three perspectives: from the family, academics, and basketball. I believe that understanding each person from the team is really important to create a connection between members. During their studies at LCC we became one big family. It is important for me to be aware and always check on how they are doing as if I were their parent at LCC. There is no real secret to the bonding of the team. Every day I am communicating and helping them, just like a big family. I have been working in this field for a long time, in different countries and with different people, and this experience helps me find an appropriate approach to each player, to help him or just give a piece of timely advice.
What are the rules and values of the LCC team?
Our team has the same values as LCC and, of course, we have some additional team rules.
The main rule is respect. Respect yourself, your team, and the University. Respect whatever you do. Treat people in the way you want to be treated back. Respecting others is crucial when you are in games and team sports, especially when the team is so diverse. Being a part of this team is a great experience for me as a coach, whether we are winning or losing. Everyone has a completely different reaction and feedback about the game. When we appreciate and respect everyone's background, we are growing up together.
Is it hard to let players go after graduation?
It is hard. However, at the same time, I am very excited. It is the main goal from the first day: to graduate and continue developing yourself in professional sports after LCC.
Our team is not just athletes, they are student-athletes. We travel and play a lot, so team members are working hard to combine academics and sports.I think they do pretty great balancing both!
Basketball season is finished for this academic year but now you and some Moose players continue working. Why did you decide to join Basketball Summer Camps rather than take a break?
Basketball isn’t just for the season, it is an all year process. Camps are something that help us give something to the community you are living in. It gives a volunteer opportunity for our players to work with kids and to share their own basketball experiences with the younger generation. Involving our Moose team members into camps gives our players a good start if they are willing to develop themselves in their coaching techniques. This work pushes the team players out of their comfort zone and improves their character. It is always an unforgettable experience filled with lifetime memories.