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Raptors pick Valanciunas dominates USA in under-19 game

Jun 29, 2011, 12:08 PM EDT

2011 NBA Draft Getty Images

Scouts who had seen Jonas Valanciunas raved about him as maybe the player with the highest ceiling in this draft (or at least the guy most likely to reach a high ceiling of all the Europeans in the draft).

Fans? Not sold at all. Plenty read the name and thought the Raptors just drafted a New York cab driver.

Then they should have been watching yesterday. The Toronto Sun was.

Valanciunas was the best player on the floor as Lithuania humiliated the United States 108-75 in a tuneup for the FIBA under-19 championship, which gets underway on Thursday in Latvia.

The fifth overall selection by the Raptors imposed his will on the smaller Americans, compiling a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, along with two blocks and a steal.

Valanciunas is rail-thin and must pack on 15-25 pounds before he can compete effectively in the NBA, but against those his own age, he has consistently dominated.

He did that against Florida’s Patric Young, who was considered a sure fire lottery pick if he came out this season (Young had 6 points). We told you draft night this was a smart pick by the Raptors, they took the best guy on the board. This is not Andrea Bargnani part deux, this is a guy a lot of teams were seriously eyeing. And some young Americans found out why Tuesday.

The league may find out in a couple years.

  1. iDroidX - Jun 29, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Why exactly did the Cavs pass on him again?

    • savocabol1 - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      I thought there was contact issues with this guy, that he couldn’t play till at least Jan. But I read that he is one of those guys who will ride the bench for a year and a half until he gets real mins. Cavs wanted people who could produce now, not someone who might be producing in a few years.

  2. edmazeing1 - Jun 29, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Being to skinny was said about K.G & Durant!!!

  3. Colin Zvosec - Jun 29, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    Why didn’t they mention that the best US guys didn’t play, and that the best big man was a 7-foot center who averages 2 points? I feel like that’s at least a little bit relevant.

  4. tashkalucy - Jun 29, 2011 at 12:38 PM

    This guy reminds me so much of Tommy Burleson and Shawn Bradley.

    Skinny tall guys that were going to dominate.

  5. Justin - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Unfortunately, for Valanciunas, the NBA features none of these under 19 players. Quoting a local paper about a recent pick is pointless. It could not be any more biased.

    • passerby23 - Jun 29, 2011 at 6:09 PM

      Fortunately, for Valanciunas, 23 and 11 and leading your team to a dominating victory over the Americans is impressive, doesn’t matter what bias the newspaper has. The kid is gonna be good.

  6. ac0117 - Jun 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM

    Euro!

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