Raptors Sign Centre Jonas Valanciunas
The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have signed centre Jonas Valanciunas (YO-nahs vah-lahn-CHEW-nahs) to his rookie scale contract. He is under contract through the 2013-14 season, with two team option years to follow. The Raptors selected the Lithuanian with the fifth overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“We are very pleased to welcome Jonas to the organization,” said Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo. “We are certain that Raptors fans will soon realize that the year-long process was worth the wait.”
Valanciunas, seven-foot, 250 pounds, averaged 14.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 23.5 minutes in 23 Lithuanian league contests this past season with Lietuvos Rytas. He scored in double figures in 17 games and grabbed double-digit totals in rebounds in seven outings. He had a season-best 25 points (8-10 FG) with 12 rebounds and a season-high six blocks November 12 against Pieno Zvaigzdes.
Valanciunas was named 2011 FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year, earned the Eurocup Rising Star Trophy given to the most outstanding player under 22 and was presented the Lithuanian League All-Star Game Most Entertaining Player award.
Valanciunas appeared in 84 games in the Lithuanian League in his three professional seasons, averaging 11.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. He competed for his country in the 2011 U-19 World Championships, leading Lithuania to the gold medal. He averaged 23.0 points, 13.9 rebounds and 3.2 blocks en route to the Most Valuable Player award. He totaled 36 points, eight rebounds and four blocks in the championship game victory over Serbia.