The majority of college students look at the summer as a time to relax, lounge around and hit the beach. Darius Songaila's summer was a little more pressure-filled.
The Wake Forest junior-to-be helped the Lithuania national team win a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia He was also almost a part of one of the biggest upsets in Olympics history, when Lithuania gave the United States' Dream Team a run for its money before losing by two points in the semifinal matchup.
Songaila totaled 10 points and seven rebounds in the medal game against Australia and feels the once-in-a-lifetime experience can only help him during the Demon Deacons' upcoming season.
"I think it will give a little boost to my confidence," he says. "It was great preparation for me for the season. All the practicing we did, all the games we played and playing against the greatest players. "
The extra groundwork, combined with the way Songaila finished his sophomore season, has raised expectations for the 22-year-old, who has been singled out by coach Dave Odom as one of the his team's leaders.
Songaila averaged 13.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last year, but continued to improve as the year progressed. Over the Deacons' final 10 games, he averaged 16.3 points and 6.9 rebounds.
-- Jimmy Traina