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Raptors Select Jonas Valanciunas In First Round of 2011 NBA Draft

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June 23, 2011

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they selected centre Jonas Valanciunas (YO-nahs vah-lahn-CHEW-nahs) from Lithuania with the fifth overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Valanciunas, 7-foot, 240 pounds, played the 2010-11 season with Lietuvos Rytas (lee-eh-TOE-vose ree-TAHS) in Lithuania. He averaged 11.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 20.6 minutes in 33 contests in the Lithuanian League. He ranked first in the league in blocks, third in rebounds and second in field goal percentage at .668. Valanciunas scored in double figures in 22 games and grabbed double-digit totals in rebounds in nine outings.

He also averaged 7.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 17.3 minutes in nine games in the VTB United League, 12.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 20.8 minutes in four games in Baltic League play and 7.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 14.9 minutes in 15 games in Euroleague action. He shot .560 per cent from the field in the United League, .792 in the Baltic League and .708 in the Euroleague.

Valanciunas, 19, is a native of Utena (oo-THE-nah), Lithuania. He has spent his career in the Lietuvos Rytas club system, competing for junior club Perlas Vinius in 2008-09 and a portion of 2009-10. He moved to Lietuvos Rytas midseason in 2009-10.

He was named MVP of the 2008 U-16 and 2010 U-18 European Championships leading Lithuania to the title both times. In the Eurobasket 2009 U-18 All-Star Game, he finished with game highs of 18 points and 19 rebounds.