Lithuania hot for Raptors' 'Big V'

Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas (left) defends against Czech Republic's Tomas Hampl during a friendly...

Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas (left) defends against Czech Republic's Tomas Hampl during a friendly game in Lithuania on Saturday. (AFP)

RYAN WOSLTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:15 AM ET

TORONTO - Apparently, Raptors' draft pick Jonas Valanciunas’ 26 point performance in a 94-73 victory over the Czech Republic on Saturday was a Lithuanian national team record for points scored in a senior team debut.

Valanciunas was MVP as Lithuania took the gold at the recent FIBA Under-19 world championship, but continued his fine play against more seasoned competition, scoring with a variety of dunks and hook shots.

Valanciunas added 11 rebounds and hit all eight 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 whether he would see significant minutes at Eurobasket, but it’s hard to see his coach benching Valanciunas both because of how effective he has been this summer and because he has become the most popular player in his country. The EuroBasket will be in Lithuania starting at the end of August.

In other international basketball news, No. 2-ranked Spain beat No. 14 France 76-53 in an exhibition game in Almeria, Spain on Tuesday.

Spain has added promising young Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka to its embarrassment of riches up front which includes brothers Pau and Marc Gasol.


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