Mindaugas Katelynas had a very eventful senior season.
Courtesy: GoMocs.com
Moctoberfest Day 26: Mindaugas Katelynas, Dunk Champ

Moctoberfest is a month-long celebration of Chattanooga Mocs men's basketball. It includes historical moments, social media interactions and introduction to UTC's freshmen among the myriad of video tributes and stories.

Day 26 focuses on former Mocs big man Mindaugas Katelynas. Katelynas had a phenomenal senior year with several highlights. From the win over Tennessee to grabbing a DI-era record 21 rebounds in the SoCon Semifinal against Appalachian State to the Mocs first NCAA Tournament appearance in eight seasons, to say it was eventful is an understatement.

Katelynas added one other highlight. During the NCAA Final Four weekend, Katelynas won the 2005 Capital One NCAA Slam Dunk competition in St. Louis.

See the winning dunk in the video link above.

Katelynas made a name for himself in Europe playing in the top Italian professional league for a few years before playing in Spain in 2009-10.  He has played in his native Lithuania since 2010.

While he is quite an athlete, Katelynas was best known at UTC for his work ethic heading into the 2004-05 season.

"Mindaugas worked as hard on and off the court as anyone I have been associated with," said John Shulman whose first year as head coach of the Mocs was 2004-05.  "If you had 15 players with his selfless dedication, you'd have a special, championship ball club.

"It doesn't hurt to have tremendous ability either," smiled Shulman.

On the court, Katelynas reminded some scouts of Andrei Kirilenko, then with the Utah Jazz, with his wiry frame and athleticism.  With the ability to play the three, Mindaugas played in the post in 2005 and led the team in scoring (11.8 ppg) and rebounding (8.9 rpg). 

More importantly, Katelynas led the Mocs to their ninth NCAA Tournament berth as Chattanooga won its 15th SoCon regular season title (fifth division) and ninth tourney crown.

Katelynas was relentless in his pursuit of the Mocs' ninth tournament title.  He helped key a second half comeback from a 32-26 halftime deficit in the 57-51 semifinals win over Appalachian State.  Mindaugas grabbed 15 (11 offensive) of his school record 21 rebounds in that pivotal second half including four in the last two minutes of the game while scoring the game's final five points.

That win propelled the Mocs into the championship game where they toppled UNCG 66-62 to claim the NCAA Tournament bid.  Katelynas won tourney Most Outstanding Player honors and his name was cemented forever in the hearts of Mocs fans everywhere.

"This is a program defined by championships," added Shulman.  "Our fans love their former players, but there is a special place for those who win championships.  Just mention the name Mindaugas and you see faces light up.

"I remember at the post-game press conference after the championship," added Shulman.  "Mindaugas said, 'I am the happiest man in the world right now.'  He meant it.  He loved Chattanooga and Chattanooga loves him."

Chattanooga opens the season Monday, November 12, against Tennessee Temple in McKenzie Arena at 7 p.m. Season tickets for a school-record 18-game home slate are available. Call 266-MOCS (6627), go online here at GoMocs.com or stop by the Gate One McKenzie Arena Ticket Office. Single-game tickets are also on sale now.

GoMocs.com is the official website of the Chattanooga Mocs.  The Mocs can also be followed on their official Facebook page (ChattanoogaMocs), or on Twitter (@GoMocsMBB & @GoMocs).

Find out how to join the UTC Mocs Club and support more than 300 student-athletes by clicking here.

1 - First NCAA DI Game
2 - Walter "Moose" McGary
3 - Stephen McDowell
4 - 1980 Recruiting Class
5 - Gerald Wilkins 4-point Play
6 - Social Media Factoid: UTC's 10 NCAA appearances are the most in the SoCon since joining the league in 1977-78. Leaders: Chattanooga 10, Davidson 7, ETSU 6, Marshall 3, App State 2, Furman 2, Wofford 2, Western Carolina 1, UNCG 1 and College of Charleston 1. Sources: http://twitter.com/GoMocsMBB & http://www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs
7 - LeVert Threats to Keith Nelson Buzzer-Beater
8 - 1st NCAA Tournament Win
9 - Social Media Factoid: Today's Moctoberfest Factoid is in honor of tomorrow's 30 minutes or less ticket promotion. Derrick Kirce holds the UTC record for career 30-point games with 5 in his 2 seasons (1990-91). He scored 1,113 points which is a school record for a two-year player averaging 19.5 points per contest, another all-time leading mark. Chad Copeland (1993-94) is the only Moc with back-to-back 30-pt games. He scored 30 in a home win over Southern Miss on Jan. 2, 1994 and followed with 33 keying a one-point road win three nights later at Furman. Sources: http://twitter.com/GoMocsMBB & http://www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs
10 - Drazen Zlovaric  Makes ESPN Top 10 Plays
11 - TRIVIA GIVEAWAY: Who led the Mocs in scoring in the two 1997 NCAA Tournament wins over Georgia and Illinois? Answer: Willie Young with 39 (24 vs. UGa/15 vs. Illini).
12 - Meet Gee McGhee
13 - Ty Patterson Beats Shot Clock in 2009 SoCon Championship Game
14 - Meet Alex Bran
15 - Meet Eric Robertson
16 - 1985 NIT Quarterfinalists
17 - Deal's Pass to Wilkins in 1985 NIT at Lamar
18 - TRIVIA GIVEAWAY: What Southern Conference opponent have the Mocs played the most in their history? Answer: Samford, 83 games (48-35). Western Carolina is second with 78 followed by Appalachian State (72) and The Citadel (70). The Catamounts are the most frequent SoCon regular season opponent with 64 games with UTC holding a 46-18 record in those league contests.
19 - Dontay Hampton Coast to Coast Game Winner
20 - Social Media Factoid: Today's Moctoberfest Factoid keys on the long list of professional players that Chattanooga has produced over the years. There are currently 16 former Mocs active in professional leagues all over the globe. Click here for a list of NBA Draft Picks and recent UTC players in the pros. Sources: http://twitter.com/GoMocsMBB & http://www.facebook.com/ChattanoogaMocs
21 - Chris Mims Game Winner in 1997 SoCon Championship
22 - Meet Farad Cobb
23 - Remembering the NCAA Sweet 16 Team
24 - Meet Casey Jones
25 - TRIVIA GIVEAWAY: Last season Keegan Bell became the 3rd Moc to record a triple-double in a game with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists at College of Charleston. Name the other two. ANSWER: Tim Brooks & Gary Robb. Robb set the school record with 17 assists vs Southern to go with 13 pts & 10 reb in the 1992 Dr Pepper Classic. Tim Brooks had the 1st with 16 pts, 10 reb & 16 ast at Western Carolina on Feb 1, 1992.
26 - Mindaugas Katelynas Captures NCAA Slam Dunk Championship
27 - 2009 Tourney Run Nets New Fanatic
28 - Championship Tradition
29 - Mocs Top Moments
31 - Mocs Top Moments

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