The game of basketball has been in Lithuania native Rūta Savickaitė’s life since she was just six years old. Her father knew she was going to be a successful athlete, so after Savickaitė tried out dancing and swimming, basketball was next on the list. At first she did not like the sport, but after a few practices and games, she started to realize the game was for her.
As Savickaitė continued to grow and play basketball, she would travel to many countries that were near Lithuania such as Poland, Germany, and Latvia to play in tournaments. She continued to develop and grow within the sport and quickly fell in love with the game. When she was going into her junior year of high school, her father found an agent that helped Savickaite make her way to America to play ball in the states.
She attended Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the second half of her junior year and her full senior year of high school. Savickaitė said when she first arrived in America she did not know one bit of English which made the transition difficult at first, but after one year of playing in the US and around the middle of her senior year, she was able to pick up the language and it became easier to learn.
Savickaitė was then recruited to Western Kentucky and played two full seasons there before transferring to the University of Southern Indiana where she finished off her last two seasons of her collegiate career. After appearing in all 29 of USI’s games in the 2016-17 season, she collected Academic All-GLVC accolades. She finished her career at USI with a total of 85 points, 31 assists, 23 blocks, and 9 steals, and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Management.
Her collegiate career was not the end of basketball for Savickaitė. She then went on to be a Graduate Assistant for the Wichita State women’s basketball team in Kansas. After almost two years, she then made her way to the Bay Area when she accepted a position in San Carlos as a Program Coordinator for Legarza Sports. She held her position for eight months before learning about Unlimited Potential Basketball and working under Chief Training Officer Coach Packie Turner and CEO Bianca Turner.
Savickaitė learned about UPB through a close friend who had a son training at the facility with Coach Packie. She attended one group training and said she was into it right then and there. After reaching out to Coach Packie and interviewing with Bianca, she was offered a part-time position as a Player Development Coach. Savickaitė was still working for Legarza Sports at the time so after her nine to five with that company, she would drive from San Carlos to Burlingame to work at UPB, she even worked at UPB on the weekends as well. As she continued to work for UPB, she fell more and more in love with the gym and learned a lot from Coach Packie. When the Pandemic hit, Savickaitė's role at UPB continued to grow and she started working full-time.
Now, after over two years at UPB, Savickaitė is the Director of Basketball Operations at UPB and has had a tremendous impact on the facility. Savickaite is in charge of conducting promotional campaigns on behalf of UPB, she takes care of signing up current and new clients for training, sets up scheduling, and more.
She has made many relationships with the athletes who come into UPB as well as the parents of the athletes. Everyone at the gym appreciates Savickaitė, and she said that she has always tried her hardest to be as impactful as she can be for anyone that she comes into contact with.
“My favorite part about UPB is creating, maintaining, and flourishing relationships with clients, athletes, parents, [and] just people overall,” Savickaitė said. “[There are] so many different people [that] are coming through the door every single day. Anybody from a second grader to an NBA superstar, you know, [it is] just a very diverse community. That's what I love the most about it. You can literally talk to anybody and it's all connected because of basketball.”
Savickaitė said she sees herself working for UPB in the next five years and that she loves what she does and only wants to keep growing with UPB. As of now, Savickaitė is back in Lithuania working remotely for UPB, and she said she cannot wait until she is back in Burlingame on the court. Until then, she continues to stay as involved as she can with the facility and continues to build her relationships with athletes, coaches, clients, and parents.
“[I love basketball because of the] connections for sure. I always think about [how] if I didn't play basketball, I wouldn't have traveled this much [around the] world [and] I would have never met this pot of different people from everywhere… I can't really think of any other thing that I personally would do that would open up so many doors and so many connections, so that’s why I love it,” Savickaitė said.