In an attempt to provide TimandSid-izens with some sports and edu-tainment news before Tim and Sid: Uncut return this afternoon, here’s a little Valanciunas interview to keep you up-to-date on what the big man is up to. As mentioned last week, the newest Toronto Raptor, Jonas Valanciunas, made the first cut and is 1 of 17 remaining players competing for a spot on the men’s national Lithuanian basketball team. The team is prepping for the upcoming EuroBasket 2011 and players arrived in Palanga earlier this week for the start of the second stage of training camp.
After doing some research this morning during my break, I was able to find an interview conducted by a reporter from sportacentrs.com who sat down with Big V to discuss basketball, growing up, social media, and his rise in popularity over the last few months. I think Uncle Timmy wanted to tweet the article himself or at least provide some feedback, but in fear of being “murdered” on twitter, he probably just kept it to himself. #JustTheFacts #CalmDown #Ha. But feel free to shit on me, I can take it.
Below are a couple of excerpts from the interview.
This summer has been very busy for you?
“In fact, busy and outdoors, and my life … I started the school-leaving exams, end men’s team. And among all this is America and NBA renginukas was then – the world championship. Really difficult summer, but I hope to handle.”
You’re hoping for one more victory at the European Championships in September, with the men’s team?
“It would be quite good! Championship will take place in Lithuania – will try to show what we can. Effort must be made, and success will come.”
Of those who are invited to attend the first workout, you’re the youngest?
“Yes, they probably need to wear inside bar (laughs).” (I’m guessing he’s just referring to the fact that he won’t be able to go clubbing)
Some players training with the squad will be assisted by the fact that they already have a ticket to the NBA. Did you always want to make it to the NBA?
“The sound can not name even as neįsivaizduodavau that one day I can get there. My goal was Lithuania’s top league. Then I saw that if I will work, and I get to the NBA. Then I started to dream about it.”
And that dream came true very soon!
“That’s good! I can dream about something else. I do not know how to be in the future, but for now all my thoughts and plans associated solely with basketball.”
I understand you have to spend another year in Lithuania. It is disappointing that you’re not going to Toronto in the Fall?
“Or no because I Vilnius – their own city. Very nice to stay here for another year. In addition, the NBA lockout now. So I think my – the best option.”
How is your English?
“On me all the drives that do not know English, but I will try to upgrade by a year (laughs).”
I heard your mother took you to your first training session. How old were you?
“Nine. Most wanted to play basketball. Maybe a good thing that I tried. Ten years ago, the live and still I find the motivation, why can not I get tired of basketball. The desire to push forward to achieve something.”
* Valanciunas playing some street ball on home court in Vilnius
At an early age, you had to become very independent. Where you a tidy person?
“Did not prepare the food – to eat in cafes and canteens. And all the other household chores had to learn. Had to call mother and advise on matters relating to health care, and advice on all kinds of washes. Mother is taught to prepare steaks. I fry them well.”
What drink is Valanciunas choosing?
Do you drink anything stronger?
“Do I take and can I say? Well, champagne (laughs) …”
It is obvious that your summer vacation has not been similar to those in the past.
“I tried after the World Cup, as far as I could relax. I had to do it very quickly, because there are matters … If you are more free time to relax in the warm skrisčiau edges. Part of the holiday with her parents praleisčiau Utena. I like fishing. During the season, maybe more difficult to find time for ice-fishing is not very engaged. Fished for the summer. But not to anything pagaučiau – that pabūčiau nature atsipalaiduočiau. Still I run fish. More than a catch – I am interested in the process.”
After the ceremony honoring the FIBA U-19 world champions in Vilnius Town Hall Square in Lithuania, it’s hard to believe that you don’t have lots of girlfriends.
“It was just a joke. A friend can not look – it will come naturally. If you seek is not available.”
Has social networks attracted a lot of attention from girls?
“Not crazy, but no complaints.”
Is there someone that can say they have your heart?
“I do not stereotype, it should be and that I liked. Everyone is different. One can draw some respects, on the other – the other. It is important that a good man.”
You have a lot of leadership qualities. What was it like to be elected the captain of the U-19 team?
“Elected captain of the team. Men’s trusted and spent last year in office. I was it this year. Being a captain has no special status – you’re a team player as well as the others. Just get the additional duties. Sometimes guys need to try to concentrate. World Championship defeat of the Croats, head spinning, you do that chebrytė nepalūžtų and we go on. Players are important not only physical but also mental preparation – as a race prejudice, against what they think the …”
Your career is going incredibly well. Every team you play for seems to win – how do you do this?
“Dedication to basketball and work. If you believe the thing you are doing, if you’re confident that everything will come true, and it helps.”
What about talent?
“In particular – work. And a little talent.”
As in previous entries, Google Translate was a big help for this and while I left Jonas’ translated answers untouched, I tweeked some of the questions asked by the reporter so you could understand them a little bit better. I felt that some of the interview above sounded more like a sit down with Justin Bieber than Jonas Valanciunas, but when the topic of basketball and his career was discussed, the kid sounds pretty mature and he seems to have one focus right now: Basketball. Always a plus for a Toronto Raptors fan…
It’s Friday TimandSid-izens, remember to tune in this afternoon on theScore Radio or SIRIUS Channel 158 at 4PM ET for an all new episode of Tim and Sid: Uncut.