While the Raptors fan base is still lamenting on Nash’s decision. A key part of the franchise’s future is playing for his last opportunity to get to London. The Olympic qualifier is a short and intense tournament with 12 teams competing for the last three tickets to the Olympic Games. The teams are divided in four groups and the two best records advanced to the Quarter Finals which start on Friday.

There’re a few familiar faces in the tournament such as Greivis Vasquez from the Hornets representing hosts Venezuela and JJ Barea, Carlos Arroyo and Renaldo Balkman from Puerto Rico, amongst others. The Dominican Republic, coached by John Calipari, is led by Al Horford, the leading scorer of the tournament after the group stage with 26 ppg and by a guy named Yack Michael Martinez, a Caribbean version of Ben Wallace who pulled down 25 rebounds in the opener.

Russia, one of the big boys, is led by Andrei Kirilenko and Viktor Khryapa. Nuggets’ center Timofez Mozgov suffered an injury in the start of the third day and combo-guard Alexey Shved, who has been linked to the Cavs, Timberwolves and Grizzlies, is battling the flu.

The Raptors are represented in the Lithuanian squad. After having the opening day off, Lithuania debuted against the hosts getting an easy win by 18. Linas Kleiza had a brilliant game with 28 points on 11-16 shooting. Jonas Valanciunas started for his team but battled the foul ending up with 5 points and 1 rebound in 9 minutes. Note that it is impressive for a 20-year old player to start in such a talented and traditional national team. In the second game of their schedule, Lithuania faced Nigeria, a team with a few familiar names such as Al-Farouq Aminu, former George Mason PG Tony Skinn and former 9th pick Ike Diogu. Valanciunas had much more playing time as the only big on the court because coach Kemsura opted for a 4-1 formation. Jonas played 23 minutes off the bench, scored 10 points with 5 rebounds and blocked a shot.

In the beginning of the fourth, Valanciunas was key to Lithuania’s comeback from 11 down. He scored four straight points (both on pick ‘n rolls), blocked a shot, caused a turnover under his own basket after a defensive rebound, which resulted in an And1.

A huge alley-up with Sarunas Jasikevicius with 3 minutes left cut the lead. The PG threw a very high pass that Jonas caught and dunked in an impressive show of athleticism, length and good hands. Kleiza, did his damage in the first and third quarter and finished with 22 points on 11 shots, leading his team in scoring once again. He has the second best scoring average in the tournament behind Horford. Greivis Vasquez was third. It was a very controversial ending to the game after Lithuania decided not to foul with 20 seconds on the clock and down six.

Due to the unexpected loss against Nigeria, Group B was decided by a tiebreaker between the three teams that had Lithuania first with the best point differential, Nigeria second and Venezuela eliminated. In the quarterfinals Lithuania will face Arroyo and Barea’s team, Puerto Rico, while the other games are: Greece – Nigeria, Russia – Angola and Dominican Republic – Macedonia. The winners of the quarter finals will face in the semi on Saturday. The tournament will not have a champion because the teams that win the semifinals will return home. The true deciding match is the Bronze Medal game that will decide the last ticket.

  • Nathan Schaeff

    Hope they make it. London be good for both of them.

    • boshrawr

      I friend on the other hand slightly digress. if I’m not mistaken, summer league clashes with the Olympics and I think its about time Val honour his commitment to the team. I’m hoping they don’t qualify so that Val can get a feel for the NBA game and get a jumpstart on the transition. Moreover it’ll be a great time to develop chemistry with his new teammates I’m rather looking forward to watching him and Ross :)

      • Nilanka15

        Agreed.  Although the level of competition will be better in the Olympics, I would prefer Jonas get acclimated with the other young Raptors early, as well as the coaching staff.

        • Thetruth

          I would actually have to disagree on this point. Valanciounas playing in the Olympics would be a great experience for him to further develop. After all, he’s going to be playing the highest level of basketball instead of just working out in the weight room or a practice court.

          I understand the need for him to gel with his new teammates but there is time for that during training camp. The Olympics are a learning experience and it would be great for him.

          • Thetruth

            I guess what I’m trying to say is that no practice court or workout could mimic real game situations. And it is only through playing in real games that you truly develop.

            Just my two cents on the matter.

      • Thetruth

        I understand your point but summer league is still nowhere near the level of Olympic basketball competition. Playing in high pressure situations on such a big stage will continue to accelerate his development.

        There will be plenty of time for him to get acclimated with his new teammates in training camp. 82 games is a long season lol!

      • Copywryter

        The same summer league dominated by Adam Morrison in 2009 and Derozan in 2010? Joey Dorsey lead the league in rebounds in both of those years. Yes, that Joey Dorsey. Val is much better off playing in London.

        • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

          Nope he’s better off playing in Vegas against athletic NBA types & learning the Raptors system under NBA not FIBA rules, imo.

          • Lorenzo

            Hey look! I agree with you!

            • Nilanka15

              Seconded. Summer League will be focused on Jonas. Olympics will be focused on winning whether Jonas is playing or not.

      • Al_Oliver

        Summer league is a week long and the competition will be far below what he will face in the Olympics. Let him join the team afterwards. I think the Olympics (assuming they qualify) will be better for his development, of which he still has a long way to go on.
        Honour his commitment? Pretty sure he isn’t even under contract yet

  • Destro

    Like i said it’ll be different when he plays in the NBA,he is not going to dominate and he will look like Araujo early in games with fouls…kid has some talent but he will need alot of grooming…He wont come thru and crush the buildings like yall think he will this season…

    • Sukhpinder

      obvious statement is obvious.

      • The Rub

         obvious statement needs to be made because of the outlandish statements made over the last year on these same comment pages.

        • Sukhpinder

          obvious statements don’t need to be made, that’s why they’re obvious..

      • Copywryter

        You clearly haven’t been on this site very often. He’s made out to be JC as much as JV

        • Sukhpinder

          Who is JC?

          • Bemeup Scotty

            As he often is, Jesus Christ is the answer.

            • Al_Oliver

              greatest science fiction character of alltime?

              • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

                Alot of real people witnessed & documented His miracles done by the Will of G-D.

                His real name was Yeshua Ben Yosef- G-D’s Holy Word that became Flesh….

                That being said to each their own….

    • Candianboy

      you are just a Raptor hater and anything you say is just meant to put the Raptors down….Guess what? we all know this and don’t care what you have to say…. and the only reason I’m saying this to you …well being Canadian we are polite and only hope the best for people even if they are idoits!!!……

      • Destro

        You a salty shit stain drippin in ur own bumjuice son…

        If you read my posts im a level headed unbiased fan,i give praise when its warranted (Lowry) and i criticize when its justified (nash,fields)

        Either way,you’ve still never touched a woman in your life and your sister sleeping dont count…

        • Thetruth

          He’s a kid for god sake….will you show some maturity?

          • Destro


            and i dont know or care whos a kid or toddler or infant or grandmother in this forum nor do i care,good day !

          • hater

            fk that. askin destro to show some maturity is like askin a prostitute for a hug. 

  • jjdynomite

    Posted in the other thread, but FYI Bayless has been declared an unrestricted FA:


    Sounds like a trade is in the works, I can’t imagine Calderon being a $10 mil back-up all season.

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      Time will tell..

      johnhollinger John HollingerFollow-up to Stein’s Tweet: With Bayless QO off books, no strong need to amnesty Calderon unless blockbuster deal materializes. ESPNSteinLine Marc SteinCalderon? Growing sense w/rival teams is Raps either use Spaniard’s expiring deal in trade or just keep him. Scratch him from amnesty lists.

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        johnhollinger John Hollinger Follow-up to Stein’s Tweet: With Bayless QO off books, no strong need to amnesty Calderon unless blockbuster deal materializes. 

        ESPN SteinLine Marc Stein Calderon? Growing sense w/rival teams is Raps either use Spaniard’s expiring deal in trade or just keep him. Scratch him from amnesty lists.

  • John

    This is what I like to know:

    How did a 20 year old AB or Pau Gasol did in these sort of competitions  and for that matter, how did guys Hamed Haddadi did in these sort of qualification tournaments ?

    • Raul

      Gasol is a valid point but Haddadi was the only decent player of the iranian team. Valanciunas is surranded by elite talent in a National team that made at least the semifinals in every Olympic game since they became an independent nation in 1989

  • cesco

    Lithuania won 76-72 against Puerto Rico  and will play the semifinals to-morrow . Not sure but JV may not have scored any points , just a few rebounds and he fouled out . Kleiza had 14 points and 7 rebs .

    • cesco

       JV stats ; 6 minutes , 0 points , 3 rebs , 5 fouls . I guess we will have to expect a pretty rough first year in the NBA .

      • KuH

         I’m disappointed also:  he seems to be fouling big time in Venezuela.  Didn’t have this problem in European competition that I saw.  I hope nobody has been feeding him steroids or anything to bulk/rage him up …

        • Destro

          Let me pre warn you so you dont get caught out there with ur panse down in November/December like most of these hoe ass dudes….The kid has some talent,never denied that BUT GUESS WHAT…so do alot of NBA players already playing in the league WHOOOOOA (Mindblown)

          Its best to temper your delusion and grandeur by acknowledging he may be a decent big man in the NBA and may live up to serviceable expectations BUT hes not going to be a superstar…He at best i think we will be a good 5,not great not all nba BUT good….temper all these bullshit opinions with that reality and youll be fine and never be disappointed by whatever the outcome…

          Good day…  

  • horsewithnoname

    “Note that it is impressive for a 20-year old player to start in such a talented and traditional national team.” Note the writer treating the basketball player with kid gloves and his readers as morons

    • Raul

      Not that I’m argentinian and english is my second langage. I dare you to do it in Spanish and let’s see what happend. 

      • horsewithnoname

        Raul you’re pulling at my heart strings. Really. Lo siento. Espanol is muy dificil. But you have to know that it will scare Torontonians to death if it appears the people between them and their basketball team are already making excuses for someone who is supposed to not be Albatross Bargnani. To help you out, I’m referring to Coleridge’s big bird. Buenos Noches

        • Sukhpinder

          he’s not making excuses, he just pointed out that it is impressive for a 20-year-old player to start on a talented team in olympic qualifying. so basically take these performances and box-scores with a grain of salt. 

          • horsewithnoname

            Yawn. Just like it was so impressive to have been invited to to play in that magical land known as Treviso

          • Destro

            Starting on Team USA would be impressive Lithuania Nah….

            These performances against bum ass nations mean ZERO in terms of what he will deliver this season in the NBA….

  • HitItHardFromTheBack

    Ray Allen sold his soul smh….

    • horsewithnoname

      before somebody else says it, Jesus Shuttleworth plays Judas Iscariot

    • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

      I disagree.

      More like DAinge tried to unsuccessfully move him last season.

      Him & Rondo have issues.

      Bos signed JTerry and used ABradley as a starter over RAllen late last season.

      Miami, who might have an in shape Eddy Curry next season, might as well get ready for another NBA title parade barring injuries- corner 3 anyone?

  • NyAlesund

    What do we expect from him (JV)? To dominate the games with the stunning performance like 20 pts, 10 rebs and 4 blks? C’mon. He is young, playing with a really competitive team in friendly competitions. Give him time. This fall we will have the opportunity to celebrate or hate him!!!!!!!

    I am sure about one thing: he will be more NBA ready than many others rookies.

    • mountio

      I obviously didnt see the game . just read the boxscore .. but you have to be concerned with the guy fouling out with no points in 6 minutes! Its only one game and hes young and all of that .. but yes, from my perspective, this is concerning.  Lets see how the game goes today .. but not a good sign from our stud prospect …

      • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

        Wait until he plays against strong, fast & athletic dunk on your mama & grandmama NBA big men- hack city if he can keep up next season…..

        People marking him down as the Rap’s starting 5 for 2012-13 need to recognize he’s a project not a guarantee…….

        • Destro

          Exactly Breh the expectations are ridiculous…..

    • Destro

      I think thats non sense that hes more ready…..So basically hes the favourite to win ROY ?

  • BCStefanskiCaseyGots2Go!!!

    ADrummond > Val??????