Jonas Valanciunas: ''Healthy, I am coming to the World Cup. As always.''
NEW ORLEANS (USA) - Lithuania can start looking forward to having their powerful veteran center Jonas Valanciunas at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023.
A member of the senior national side since breaking into the team at FIBA EuroBasket 2011, Valanciunas, 30, has made it clear he will be present with the Baltic giants when the tournament is staged in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia.
"If healthy, I am coming," he said to Basketnews.lt. "As always. The season is not over, so there is no 100% guarantee, but if I am feeling like I am today, I will be there (at the World Cup) for sure."
The 2.11m (6ft 11in) behemoth is coming off a summer when he had impactful performances at a star-studded EuroBasket 2022 in Germany, averaging a double-double in points and rebounds as Lithuania survived a very difficult Group Phase in Cologne and made it to the Round of 16 in Berlin.
His rebound average of 10.5 per game was third highest in the tournament while his scoring average of 16.2 points per game ranked 15th overall.
He helped Lithuania defeat Hungary and Montenegro in August, averaging 14.5 points and 11.0 rebounds to help Lithuania in the European Qualifiers for the World Cup.
The country is one of nine European countries to have already sealed a place in the 32-team tournament, which runs August 25 to September 10.
From his early years in the Lithuania shirt to his most recent, Valanciunas has evolved into a commanding presence on the court.
He is among the most reliable centers in international basketball in terms of production, and representing his country.
Still in his prime , Valanciunas' number of 79 appearances ranks seventh on the all-time games list played for Lithuania's national team. This number could grow in September at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
"It’s going to be a fantastic tournament, I am sure about that", said Domantas Sabonis a few days ago.