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Eurohopes Basketball Prospects | VALANCIUNAS YOUNG MENS POY 2012
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Valanciunas Young Men's POY 2012
Press release
For a second consecutive year, Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas ('92) has been voted as FIBA Europe Young Men's Player of the Year. Valanciunas eclipsed other nominations in the field which was voted on by selected journalists and fans, easily seeing off Croatia's Dario Saricand France's Leo Westermann, who finished second and third respectively.
Following on from his breakthrough 2011 when the then 19-year-old led his country's U19 team to gold at the World Championship; got drafted fifth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the NBA draft; and made his senior debut for Lithuania; 2012 could be considered something of a quieter year for the center. That is, if you consider four club finals with Lithuanian club Lietuvos Rytas, an appearance at the Olympics and an NBA debut with the Raptors, as being quiet.
Opting to stay in Europe during the NBA lockout, Valanciunas made a seamless transition to becoming a regular starter in senior men's basketball, being named as Eurocup rising star; earning a spot in theLithuanian League All-Star Game; whilst also being announced as a member of the all-Eurocup squad.
The 20-year-old then capped his year off with a move to Toronto where he has been gaining regular minutes with the Raptors. At the end of his NBA rookie season, Valanciunas can be expected to be seen back in Europe this summer as he begins his bid to help return Lithuania to the EuroBasket podium for the first time since 2007.
"Valanciunas winning the award for a second year running is the sign of a young man who continues to strive to become not just one of the best players in Europe, but in the world," reflected FIBA Europe President Olafur Rafnsson. "Despite Jonas already having collected a number of awards, I have a feeling that greater things are yet to come for him," said FIBA Europe Secretary General Kamil Novak.
Following on from the announcement of Alina Iagupova as Young Women's Player of the Year on February 5, the Women's Player of the Year 2012 will be announced on Monday 11 February; whilst the Men's winner will be known a day later on Tuesday 12 February. FIBA Europe will announce in due course when and where the awards will be presented.


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