On what it matters to play for Lithuania.
“Every time I step on a court wearing the national team jersey, I get goose bumps. It was always like that and I hope it will stay like this,” he said. “Playing for the national team is the highest accolade for me, as a player and as a person. I’m patriot, and having a chance to play for my country gives some kind meaning to my life.”
On playing with Domantas Sabonis.
“Playing with Domantas was really a lot of fun and joy. Although under the new system there was only a week of preparation for both games and the format was quite unusual for all of us, I’m definitely looking forward to us stepping on a court together. Especially now, when we have a month to prepare for and to melt our playing strengths together,” Valanciunas said.
Lithuania are in the group of death in Dongguan, alongside Senegal, Australia, and Valanciunas’adopted homeland of Canada.
“That game will somehow be special, having, in all my time with Toronto, represented Canada in the NBA. But at the same time, it will be a game where we will try our best to kick their butts!” the 2.13m (7ft) center said while bursting into laughter.
Lithunia will probably have to go for wins in the other two games, against Senegal and Australia.
“The group is very tough, to say the least. Everybody is talking about Canada and Australia, and they are right. Those teams can have many world-class players on their rosters. But let’s not forget Senegal. They can be extremely dangerous too. As our head coach Dainius Adomaitis said, in a group like this you don’t have the time to get in shape. You have to be at your best level right from the start.”