Career: Montrose Christian High-School (USA-High School, 2002-03), University of Missouri (USA-NCAA, 2002-05), Denver Nuggets (USA-NBA, 2005-08). Selected in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft (#27) by the Portland Trailblazers. Rights traded to the Denver Nuggets immediately.
If Kleiza has evolved into a prominent player with the Denver Nuggets the past three years, including an impressive 11.1 points in 23 minutes per game in 2007-08, his international career with Lithuania has also been on the up. Though his numbers at EuroBasket 2007 were slightly less impressive than a year before at the FIBA World Championship in Japan, Kleiza looked far more mature and was a better fit for the team-oriented concept in Spain where Lithuania dominated at times. Much of the credit must go to coach Ramunas Butautas, who spotted the ‘Lithuanian Charles Barkley’ when Kleiza was just 10 and carried him throughout the youth national teams to the highest level. Kleiza is already very good. He is potentially much better – something that was obvious after his 41-point outburst in a game against Utah.