Valanciunas at it again + young Canadians continue to dominate

- August 7th, 2011

So much for Raptors draft pick Jonas Valanciunas needing some time to develop before putting in work at the senior level internationally.

Valanciunas made his debut for Lithuania’s senior team on Saturday and led the team to a 94-73 victory over the Czech Republic with 26 points and 11 rebounds.

Valanciunas was particularly effective inside, either finishing with dunks or getting to the line where, like usual, he hit most of his free throws.

“I was more nervous than usually … (but) there wasn’t a moment that I thought of the statistics, I just went on the court and showed what I can do,” Valanciunas told reporters afterwards.

Valanciunas did not play in Lithuania’s first exhibition and there has been some question for months now whether he would see significant minutes at the upcoming Eurobasket Tournament, but it’s hard to see his coach benching Valanciunas both because of how effective he has been this summer (MVP of the FIBA Under-19 World Championship) and because he has become the most popular player in his country and the Eurobasket will be in Lithuania.

The Valanciunas highlights are here.

While Valanciunas looks to have solidified his place, the team surprisingly cut its other young 7-foot NBA prospect, Donatas Motiejunas who is more of a one-way player than Valanciunas and also is not as far along in his development.

Meanwhile,Canada is in the championship game of the 2011 NIke Global Challenge after beating USA East 104-83.

Brampton’s Sim Bhullar had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Vaughan’s Andrew Wiggins continued his dominance at the event, scoring 21 points, nine from long-range, a new wrinkle to his game.

Tyler Ennis of Brampton (14 points, six assists) and Scarborough’s Xavier Rathan-Mayes added 19.

Here is the boxscore.

Categories: Basketball, NBA, Toronto Raptors

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1 comment

  1. EasyE says:

    I watched the game between Lithuania and Czech just to watch this kid play against the big boys. Now granted it’s a weak Czech team and not comparable to NBA type talent. That said, there were some positives and negatives to draw from the game.
    Positives: Great motor … has a nack for grabbing boards on both ends … great at the pick and roll … amazing hands for a big man … money from the charity stripe.
    Negatives: Lanky build (gets pushed around) … picks up too many offensive fouls (hence turnovers – 4 in 22 minutes) … minimal offensive arsenal (put backs and pick and roll only, he has one post move -hook shot) … zero perimeter game … defense needs work (mostly due to size and fundamentals – the hustle is there) … not a great passer.

    I must say he’s an exciting prospect for the raptors – two things are going to be predictable about his transition to the NBA, he’ll grab boards and he’ll pick up too many fouls. In a way I’m glad he’ll take another year in Europe to develop. He’ll need to add 20 lbs of muscle to that frame; work on defensive fundamentals; develop a mid range jump shot; and diversify post moves. In any case Valanciunas is a great pick up at 5th overall. Only time will tell how good he will be but he’s definitely impressive at this stage of his development.

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