Basketball Northern Ireland would like to congratulate Rolandas Bartkus and Lithuanian Basketball Federation in developing this innovative partnership to help us grow our basketball community and knowledge here in Northern Ireland from one of the best basketball federations in world basketball.
Rolandas has been contributing to the basketball community since he arrived in Northern Ireland in 2010 as a player and club member and decided to get more involved within the sport.
”From 2015 I was given the chance to coach and develop a newly established ”Wolves” basketball club which in short time became a passion for me as I got the chance and freedom to bring my own ideas to reality, and at the same time oversee the direction basketball is moving in Northern Ireland.
As the level of the sport was not at a high standard during that time, there were always a lot of people that had exceptional passion for the sport, so after the first season with the ”Wolves” I had joined BNI board as advisor to share the experience and the knowledge I brought from Lithuania, to help on the Competitions Committee running the Senior leagues, organizing the finals and working with Basketball NI to promote basketball in all Northern Ireland during my free time we all share that passion.
As the years passed by, I had to face some new challenges growing junior basketball in Cookstown/Dungannon area and just had no time to be more involved with BNI affairs it’s a big commitment doing both. BNI Vice Chair, Marc Mulholland, was the one that came looking for me and had to give one more push to work with FIBA 3×3 basketball development which lead to a chance to join the ”Future Commonwealth Games 2022 Leadership” program, which has put me in an environment me with the highest-level coaches and athletes across all sports in Northern Ireland in the same room.
The experience helped to improve trust and brought back that belief in myself and to work even harder to achieve the goals we are aiming for here in Northern Irish basketball. I then got the opportunity for a trip to ”International Basketball Congress 2022” in Vilnius last December where I represented Basketball NI and ”Wolves”. This was a fantastic trip that put us on a map within other European countries and Leagues. I was able to step outside Basketball in Northern Ireland and I was explaining about the difference of BNI, BI and the BBL and the work that we put in to develop our sport, it was a great experience for me to learn and grow.
I was then very privileged when the Lithuanian Basketball Federation ask if I would take a position to represent ”Lithuanian Basketball Federation” in Northern Ireland. This role will help to build bridges between two countries, bring learning opportunities, and experiences for all, invite top quality professionals from all over the Europe to visit us here in Northern Ireland, run seminars, coaching clinics, and at the same time we will be able to send our own Basketball Northern Ireland members to see and experience Lithuanian and European basketball. It is an exciting time for the sport as for me my main goal is to show the opportunities for our youth using basketball to gain an education and to open the professional doors to work and play in different continents.”Rolandas Bartkus
Basketball NI are excited to build on this partnership and look forward to working with Rolandas and the Lithuanian Basketball Federation as we help grow our community and build the standard of basketball across NI.