11-01-2012, 02:12 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
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FIBA.com: Valanciunas living up to the hype
LTU - Valanciunas living up to the hype|FIBA.COM
Despite, in the words of coach Dwane Casey, "being thrown to the wolves" by starting at center against Indiana Pacers behemoth Roy Hibbert, Valanciunas scored 12 points and corralled 10 rebounds.
The Raptors lost 90-88 when the Pacers scored with a couple of seconds left on the clock but Valanciunas showed, at least in his first game, that he belongs in the best league in the world.
“The first half (was) a learning experience for him, Hibbert had his way a little bit,” Casey said.
“But he made adjustments, made Hibbert work the second half, did an excellent job against him.
"I was proud of the way he played.
"If he can give us that and continue to improve...making adjustments, making the passes, defensive presence in the paint, his rebounds in traffic are exactly what we need.”
There are 82 games in the regular season, so Valanciunas has a long way to go.
When told of his statistical output against the Pacers, Valanciunas sounded surprised.
“I did double-double?” he said.
“Great. But it’s important that our team win. Today team lose, so was not enough, double-double. Maybe I need to have a triple-double.”
It's as if Valanciunas, who figures to be a part of Lithuania's national team for many years and will be their leading light at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, already feels the burden of carrying the Raptors.
Maybe that's a sign that more good things are to come.