After the big win over the Warriors on Sunday, the Toronto Raptors big Lithuanian center Jonas Valanciunas could go home for the CBA mandated 2 day break that he was about to enjoy because this year, home is a lot closer than Lithuania. This past summer, Valanciunas married his girlfriend Egle Acaite and he likes having someone to come home to here in Toronto.
“It’s been good,” Valanciunas said. “It’s good to have somebody who is (there to) support you outside of the basketball court, outside of the fans. It is good to have somebody.”
Getting married does change things and where Valanciunas may have had more freedom last year, he has more support now. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that Valanciunas didn’t grow up in North America and his first language isn’t English.
“Change is – you know – you are growing somehow,” Valanciunas explained. “You are having somebody next to you.”
As a young developing NBA player, Valanciunas doesn’t have much time for anything but basketball and he’s mindful of Raptors Head Coach Dwane Casey’s request to not treat these 2 days off like a vacation. Valanciunas acknowledged he really doesn’t have many outside activities during the season, that’s what the summer is for.
“There are not many things to do because we have to keep the body rested and be mentally and physically ready for games, so there is not much time to do your own activities,” Valanciunas said. “That is what summer is for.”
As a newlywed, he shouldn’t really have much time for anything but work and home anyway.
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“I have learned a lot and I’ve had good times and bad times, but everything – I am taking like a lesson and trying to get positive things from every situation,” Valanciunas said. “I think I have learned a lot and still have a long ways to go. A lot to learn and I don’t know a lot of things – I am still learning. I am still a young player.”
Jonas Valanciunas Photo credit: Paul Saini