Just 27 games into his rookie season, Jonas Valanciunas really seems to be enjoying life on a new continent.
The Raptors rookie was a guest of Jeff Sammut’s on the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Friday and said that he has enjoyed the fact the city’s culture is so diverse.
“The city is great. Toronto is a huge city,” Valanciunas said. “A lot of opportunities. A lot of different cultures so I can find even my culture. A lot of restaurants. It is a great city to live in. The fans are wonderful.”
The Lithuanian centre said he has been delighted by the reception he has received from local fans.
“There are some people who have recognized me and a couple of people asking for a picture, but I feel really good because of this,” Valanciunas explained. “When fans recognize you and say good words to you, it’s like motivation for you to put more work on the court.
“I like to play when the fans are supporting us so (this is) the perfect spot for me.”
Valanciunas said he is having some issues with the language barrier, but his fellow Raptors have been trying to help get him acclimated.
“All the guys are helping me because they know I am a rookie and am from a different country,” he said. “I’m struggling a little bit with the language so all of the guys are trying to help me and support me as much as they can.”
The 20-year-old also explained that Raptors head coach Dwane Casey is the perfect fit for him.
“He’s a really good coach I think,” Valanciunas said. “He understands the players and knows how to act with players and that’s what I need.”
He also provided that he has had no issues gelling with much-maligned forward Andrea Bargnani.
“He’s a really high-level player,” Valanciunas added. “He’s great on offence. It’s really easy to play with him on the court on offence.”