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Raptors pick Valanciunas dominates USA in under-19 game

2011 NBA Draft

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 23: Jonas Valanciunas (R) from Utena, Lithuania greets NBA Commissioner David Stern after he was picked #5 overall by the Toronto Raptors in the first round during the 2011 NBA Draft at the Prudential Center on June 23, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

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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.