Valanciunas Is “Young Men’s Player Of The Year”

The honours continue to pile up for Raptors 2011 first-round pick Jonas Valanciunas, who was named the 2011 FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year by FIBA Europe on Monday.

Valanciunas, 20,  came out on top in votes amongst an expert panel of voters to earn the award for the best European player aged 22 and under and finished second in a fan vote to earn the distinction.

It’s hard to disagree based on a calendar year that saw Valanciunas earn MVP honours and help propel Lithuania to gold at the FIBA U19 World Championship before holding his own amongst grown men at EuroBasket 2011 in his own backyard.

The center also made his mark against elite level club teams with Lietuvos Ryatas in EuroLeague play in 2010-11, with averages of 7.7 points and 5.8 rebounds in 16 games.

Valanciunas can count himself among some future NBA peers with the award, as Rudy Fernandez (2006), Ricky Rubio (2007-09) and Jan Vesely (2010) are the last three winners.

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