Vytas Sulskis is currently 17th on Youngstown State University’s all-time scoring list. He will probably move up that list at least one more spot before the senior from Lithuania is finished playing college basketball this season. Sulskis is an interesting character who said hello to just about everyone who walked by while we were getting ready for this interview, more impressively, he knew all of them by name. You will not find a friendlier or more outgoing person who has a smile on his face and a zest for life that few can match.
Paneech: What are the biggest cultural differences between Lithuania and the United States?
Sulskis: The biggest difference is the people. The people in America are more friendly and more willing to help you. A host family offered their house to me in Florida for two years. The other difference is food. People in Lithuania have more home-cooked meals, the wife, or mother, cooks a meal every night. Here you have so many choices and can eat whatever you want on any night. You can grab a pizza or anything really.
Paneech: How often do you talk to the family back home?
Sulskis: I try to talk with them at least once a week on Skype. It is a seven hour time difference and I usually have practice in the afternoon, so usually I try to talk with them on Sunday. I got my webcam and they have theirs so I show them my room and all that. Usually, I go home once a year for the Summer, but last year I stayed to work out and be better prepared for my senior year. They will not make it here for Senior Night, but my host family from Florida is going to come.
Paneech: You are now one of just 32 men to ever score 1,000 points at Youngstown State, you are also jetting up the scoring list and currently sit in the 17 spot. How do you feel about being in such elite company?
Sulskis: It’s nice to accomplish something that only 32 people ever did before, it’s a nice individual accomplishment. I think I would rather take a couple of wins instead of moving up the list.
Paneech: You and Dan Boudler have the most history with Coach Slocum, how tough is he to play for?
Sulskis: Coach Slocum is an intense coach. He demands a lot, but he pushes people to be their best. Off the court, he is a really good guy. Some people walked away from this program because they thought they were going to average 20 points per game. They had one vision and Coach Slocum had other visions and stuck with his system. We bonded better this year, and we are losing, but we are playing much better and losing closer games. We still work hard for coach everyday in practice and no one is quitting on this season.
Paneech: You are quite active on Twitter. How did you start with it, how many followers do you have, and are you addicted?
Sulskis: A couple of years ago when it started, I figured I would try it out and just follow rich and famous people. Then more and more people joined and I stayed active and it is now pretty fun to go on there and mess with my teammates and give them a hard time after something funny happens. I have 150 followers, I think? (Laughs). The internet is huge.
Paneech: How close are you with Dan Boudler and Ashen Ward being the only holdovers from last year that played?
Sulskis: We are really close. Dan and I have been together since our freshman year, we were roommates. Dan is a chill, low-key kind of guy and I am more talkative and outgoing. Ash is a great guy and we try to hang out as much as possible and have some fun on the weekends. Damian [Eargle] is my roommate now, he is a lot like me in the sense that he is funny and also very outgoing. We have spent a lot of time getting to know each other and he is a really funny guy.
Paneech: How are the new guys?
Sulskis: They are a very talented bunch of players. I don’t think we have ever had this talented of a group. They are all really good guys too. Kendrick Perry is from Florida, so we have something in common and we know some of the same people. All of the other guys who transferred in from junior colleges are really cool guys too and we enjoy being around each other.
Paneech: What happens to Vytas Sulskis when this basketball season ends?
Sulskis: Well, I am trying to get my degree in Management Information Systems finished by June. When I am done, I would like to go play basketball professionally in Europe somewhere. I chose my major because I really liked law, but if I would have studied law here, the laws in Lithuania are very different. I took a liking to programs that help run businesses more efficiently, so I went towards business, hoping maybe I could do something with sports management. I know three languages and that can’t hurt me. I am going to go back to Europe either way.
Paneech: Other than basketball, what has been your most rewarding experience in the United States?
Sulskis: I have been fortunate to meet some really good people. I know they say that Youngstown is a bad place, but it is not a bad place. I have a lot of friends on campus, I will always remember the people from here.
One Word Answers
Favorite Fast Food Meal: The $5 Beefy Crunchwrap Box at Taco Bell.
One Word To Describe Coach Slocum: Intense.
Favorite Team To Play Against: UIC, I usually do well against them.
Favorite Toppings On A Pizza: Pineapple and Ham.
Favorite Beverage: Water.
Favorite NBA Player(s): Arvydas Sabonis and Manu Ginobili.
Song People Wouldn’t Expect To Be on Your ipod: A lot of techno.
Favorite TV Show: Jersey Shore.
Favorite Fruit: Grapes.
Animal at The Zoo That Is Most Like You: Big furry lion.