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Soviet Says He Will Play in NBA Next Season

June 21, 1989

Sharunas Marchulenis, star guard of the Soviet Union's national basketball team, said Tuesday that he will play for the Golden State Warriors next season, becoming the first Soviet to play in the National Basketball Assn.

"I'm certain I will be the first from my country to play basketball as a pro in the United States," Marchulenis said from Zagreb, Yugoslavia. "Everything is settled with the Soviet sports authorities and I'm continuing my basketball career in the NBA."

Marchulenis, 25, a 6-foot-5 1/2 Lithuanian who was drafted by the Warriors in 1987, is considered the second-best Soviet national team player after center Arvydas Sabonis, who was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers but signed with Spain's Forum Filatelilco earlier this month.

Also awaiting permission to join the NBA from the Soviet national squad are Rimas Kurtinaitis and Alexander Volkov. Some players from Yugoslavia are also expected to try out for NBA teams next season, including star national team center Vlado Divac.

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