Blog Entry

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

Posted on: July 11, 2011 1:03 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 1:55 pm
 
Posted by Royce Young



It wasn't against Dwight Howard or Tyson Chandler. Heck, it wasn't even against Joel Anthony or Ronny Turiaf. But despite qualifiers, Toronto's first-round pick Jonas Valanciunas absolutely dominated in the FIBA under-19 World Championships.

Not only did Valanciunas lead Lithuania to gold in the U19 games (the U.S. finished fifth), he was easily the tournament's best player. The Raptors new center averaged 23.0 points, 13.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game to go with 59 percent shooting from the field and 81.1 percent from the free throw line. He put a bow on his wonderful tournament with a 36-point, eight-rebound and three-block effort in the gold medal game.

Somewhere, Bryan Colangelo is probably just a little bit excited.

But it wasn't just about the numbers against non-NBA players. That stuff is nice, but there's a lot more in play if Valanciunas -- the most intriguing player in this year's draft -- is going to become an NBA force. Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Star saw a little more from Valanciunas.
He showed just about everything the Raptors were hoping for when they picked him fifth overall.

In addition to the gaudy numbers, Valanciunas displayed a genuine love for the game and an intensity and desire to get results at both ends. He showed good fluidity and bounce and kept his foul rate — one of his main weaknesses — mostly under control. He played every minute of the final and looked like he could have kept going, instead bolting around the gym and playing to the many Lithuanian fans in the building before accepting his MVP and championship trophies.

Like I said, the numbers and stats are one thing, but the intangibles that makes an effective NBA players are equally important. You hear words like "motor" and "upside" tossed around a lot and in most cases, they don't mean anything. But stuff like hearing a guy is committed and passionate are good any way you shake them.

Valanciunas will be Lithuania's backup center on the team that will host the Eurobasket tournament in August and September. There, we'll all get a little better taste of what he's capable of as Turkey is in Lithuania's group which features Chicago's defensive stud Omer Asik. Put up 36 points and eight rebounds against Asik and that'll catch some real attention. 

Regardless of perspective, it's hard not to at least take notice of what Valanciunas accomplished as the tournament's MVP. He's probably not NBA ready in terms of walking on to the floor and competing as a starter from day one in Toronto. He's still extremely young and needs to fill our his lanky 6-11 frame. But dominating against your age group and handling top prospects from the United States as well as the rest of the world is something to at least notice.

Comments

Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: July 12, 2011 3:53 am
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

 Actually there was a team from a country called the USA... have you heard of them? They finished 5th... Retard. Learn about the game... It's a pretty international one now.



Since: Sep 17, 2007
Posted on: July 11, 2011 7:00 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

Soopafly,

Overhyped? Every year "high ranking" NCAA players get picked in the lottery and never do anything at the pro level. You are simply being critical of foreign players because you don’t know anything about them and assume that every prospect from overseas will be closer to Nikoloz Tskitishvili than Zydrunas Illgauskas. More specifically though, how many NCAA players from this years draft look to be sure things? The overwhelming consensus agrees that this years draft was as weak as any in history, so given the lack of overall depth in the talent pool and the potential that Valanciunas shows, the pick might not appear so foolish if in three or four years he is part of a young nucleus in Toronto like they have in OKC or Memphis, because even if they temporarily rejuvenated fan interest by taking someone like Kemba or Jimmer, the Raptors obviously aren’t going to contend in the immediate future so selecting Big V made as much sense as anyone for a rebuilding team in a weak draft.






Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2011 6:14 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

I forgot all the high-ranking NCAA draft prospects play against 27 year old Prime NBA players.. oh wait.. they also play against kids their own age. But I guess the North American bias comes into play here doesn't it?


The high ranking NCAA draft prospects almost have the same talent level. THere is never a time where one player dominates the entire team. Who was lithuania playing against AGAIN???? you compare those level of talent to NCAA Draft prospect. Get out of here with that. Few european players have made it big in the NBA with the exception of few players. The Raptors keep drafting the same ole European players. another thing too the NCAA draft prospect lottery picks dont get send to the D-league except Thabeet Hasheem. This dude here is not going to be NBA ready for the next 2years. You know how many times we have heard a player not ready for the nba send him back to europe and they never come back to the NBA....i am not saying he will not see an nba game but he is over hyped.




Since: Aug 19, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:35 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

 Great to hear, sounds like the Raptors might be onto something with that no.5 pick. As for the motard trashing him because he is "only" playing against 19 yr olds, let's not forget that he is only 19. He dominated in a tourney featuring most of the best 19 and under players in the world. NCAA stars don't play against NBA caliber talent either, they play against other college kids. I'll be anxious to see this kid when he does make the jump to the NBA, could be a bit though (read: Rubio)



Since: May 17, 2007
Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:05 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

Well I'm sure he's more than excited I bet he is saying "see".  BC was ripped by a very large part of the fan base for making this pick.  The fact that regardless of the lockout results he won't be playing in north america this year helps BC with the fans given they still won't see him for another year.



Since: Jul 11, 2011
Posted on: July 11, 2011 4:03 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

What an assinine statement.



Since: Jul 11, 2011
Posted on: July 11, 2011 3:58 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

Great insight. He also plays against grown men in the Euroleague and is a key role player on a team in a league where vets usually take the bulk of the minutes.  His efficiency is among the top. His Lithunian U19 team would be a lock for the final four if they were playing in the NCAA.

I forgot all the high-ranking NCAA draft prospects play against 27 year old Prime NBA players.. oh wait.. they also play against kids their own age. But I guess the North American bias comes into play here doesn't it?



Since: Aug 25, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2011 2:48 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

Somewhere, Bryan Colangelo is probably just a little bit excited.
hahahahaha. that is the most laughable comment i ever read. EXCITED.?????/ he was playing against 17,18,19 year olds. Of course he had to dominate. If he didnt then it will be more laughable  




Since: Sep 1, 2006
Posted on: July 11, 2011 2:12 pm
 

Valanciunas shows off in FIBA under-19 games

Meh.

When I see him lift the Larry O'Brien trophy the way he lifts that dinky U-19 trophy at the end of the vid, maybe then I'll get a little excited.


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