Mikalauskas Makes Choice

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UVa took a significant step in filling a major need for the 2005 recruiting class today, picking up a verbal commitment from Blue Ridge School (Dyke, VA) power forward Laurynas Mikalauskas . The 6-8, 240 pound Mikalauskas has the offensive skills and toughness to become one of the top power forward prospects in the 2005 class.

“He committed to Virginia,” Blue Ridge Head Coach Bill Ramsey said. “We went on a visit there this past Friday. We weren’t there very long, only an hour and a half or so, but he met with academic advisors, the strength coach, and the assistant to the President. Coach Gillen, Coach Fuller, Coach Sherard and Coach Shephard were there too. He met with all of those people and then we had a chance to see a computer rendition of what the new arena looked like. We were both amazed by that.”

Mikalauskas, who is originally from Lithuania, transferred to Blue Ridge three years ago and has developed a close relationship with Coach Ramsey. Wanting to stay close to his Coach, location would be a major issue in his final decision.

“Coach Ramsey is here, and my track coach is here, and they are like my family,” Mikalauskas said. “Location was a big factor because I wanted to stay close to my family. UVa is a great academic school with a very good basketball program. I like the tradition of the ACC, which is a good level of basketball. I’ve told my mother about my decision, and she’s happy. She’s been to Virginia with me before and she knows Coach Gillen will take care of me.

“I’m very happy with my decision. I’m excited to be apart of UVa basketball.”

Other schools involved with Mikalauskas included Maryland, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson among others. Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and West Virginia had officially offered scholarships.

As a junior, the talented big-man averaged 18.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. A versatile scorer, Mikalauskas possesses a good low-post game and is developing a consistent mid-range jumper. He has recently been working on his three-point shot as well.

“I’m excited about Coach Gillen’s style of play and I can do a lot of things for them,” Mikalauskas said. “I can score down low, I can make jumpers, and I’ve been working on three-pointers recently. If Coach Gillen wants me to take threes, then I’ll take them.”

With a score of 17 on his