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CLEVELAND – The small moments inspire first-year basketball player Ignas Masiulionis.
Masiulionis cited a championship game in Lithuania he attended as a young child that truly spiked his interest in basketball. The Lithuanian team hit a buzzer beater to win the championship, and the moment of victory was an incredibly special moment for Masiulionis and his father. From there on out he also spent time with his grandfather, who was extremely involved in basketball, which further cemented Masiulionis’ love for the game.
The same type of event inspired him to choose his course of study. Recalling seventh grade, Masiulionis described his first interactions with an astronomy display as being colorful and beautiful, so the field caught his eye. From that point on, he asked teachers for help in guiding his new found interest and has continued with it since.
LiAngelo and LaMelo Ball might drum up most of the attention from Lithuania, but Masiulionis, who hails from the same country, deserves more of it. A first-year basketball player at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, USA, Masiulionis has made an immediate impact on the team through his ability to be a huge offensive threat every time he touches the ball. He averages 35.5 percent from beyond the arc. His future is bright as he will only continue to grow.
When you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. Masiulionis lives by this philosophy every day at CWRU because unlike most students here, he does not see academics and sports as a burden. Coming into college, all he heard was how being a student-athlete is extremely strenuous and time consuming. Throughout Masiulionis’ first semester, he said he never felt crunched for time. He just thrives under the pressure.
Even when reflecting upon the jump from high school basketball to college, Masiulionis had nothing but positive thoughts.
He said, “Practices are longer, but personally I enjoy it. I love the game that much. The coaches are always there for you if you want it.”
Off the court, Masiulionis’ academics hold a high priority because nothing is going to come easy for an astronomy and physics double major. Although oftentimes difficult, as with basketball, he thoroughly enjoys the two subjects which leads to his constant positive attitude.
Masiulionis said, “I started researching it [astronomy] and ever since then I knew what I wanted to do, what I wanted to major in, where I want to work, with my dream job working at NASA or some space agency.”
With Masiulionis’ extreme dedication to academics and basketball, naturally he has his ways to relax and destress. As with most college guys, video games often top the list. Masiulionis also enjoys listening to music to reflect and relax, occasionally on a peaceful walk around campus.
By Niko Kamlet / The Observer
Ignas Masiulionis: Was a three-year member of the basketball team at Culver Academies in Indiana, serving as a captain his senior year… Coached by Mark Galloway… Was an all-state honorable mention in 2016… Named to the top senior list in Hoosier Basketball Magazine… Won MVP honors at multiple tournaments… Led his team to sectional titles in both 2016 and 2017, and to the regional semifinal in 2017… Set a school record for the most three-point shots made in his first two years with the program… Earned honors in science and winner of the Walter W. Strait Memorial Award… Also competed in track and field… Born February 11… Son of Audrius and Dzilda. Hometown: Vilnius, Lithuania.