TORONTO - Sitting in the home of assistant coach Bill Bayno one February evening, Jonas Valanciunas fretted over the slump that


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TORONTO - Sitting in the home of assistant coach Bill Bayno one February evening, Jonas Valanciunas fretted over the slump that

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TORONTO - Sitting in the home of assistant coach Bill Bayno one February evening, Jonas Valanciunas fretted over the slump that had befallen him. Raptors T-shirts . "Im not scoring," the young centre griped, as he and his most devoted mentor watched film, hoping to get to the bottom of the recent on-court funk that was beginning to wear on his confidence. JV, youre 21-years-old," Bayno responded. "Theres no centres in the league your age that are even playing much less averaging 10 points a game. Youve had great games [but] when you have a two-point game, going up against a really good, tough [centre], you cant get upset about it." His message, the teams message, has never wavered. "Youve got to do the other things to help us win." With that in mind Bayno put pen to paper, drawing up a list of attainable goals for Valanciunas, a cheat sheet consisting of basic fundamentals that can now be found taped to the right side of his locker. Outwork, outrun, sprint[Set] great, legal screensStep to [your] manBlock out And it goes on like that. "He got really down on himself when he went through that tough stretch," Bayno explained. "So we just really sat down and talked and [I] said, look, its no secret, JV, these are the things youve got to do." "Youre going to have some ups and downs," he told the second-year pro, "but Im going to write it in your locker, so every day before the game you see, this is what you have to do on a nightly basis." "Everything thats on that sheet is what we work on." Its a simplistic tool but one that the Raptors first-year assistant feels strongly about, one that has yielded proven results throughout his coaching career. Admired for his innovative player development techniques and his passion for molding young talent, Bayno first adopted this method of teaching on one of his regular trips to Africa, about a decade ago. There he met Michael Scholl. The two would become good friends and Bayno eventually hired Scholl as his assistant at Loyola Marymount University in 2008. Scholl - who spent eight years in Africa running an AIDS prevention campaign and implementing youth basketball leagues - introduced Bayno to an old Harvard study, something he used himself to motivate the children he taught there. The study correlated the success of students with writing down their goals and displaying them in their dorms. Bayno, like Scholl before him, applied that principle to basketball. "Having those goals, having them written out where they see them every day I think is huge and its been proven," said Bayno, who is also planning on employing that strategy with the Raptors other sophomore, Terrence Ross. "The vets dont need it. The vets will laugh at you if you try to do it. They really dont need it anyway. I could say to Chuck (Hayes), remember five games ago, you had that kick out situation, you missed a kick out. Hell say, yep, and hell know exactly the play. But the young kids need it." Bayno has spent more one-on-one time with Valanciunas than anyone on the staff this season. Whether hes sparring with JV in the post - wearing his trademark forearm pads to simulate in-game physicality - throwing out-of-reach passes to him in practice or hosting him at his house for an extra film session, Baynos fingerprints are all over the sophomores continued development. "He works with me a lot actually," Valanciunas said of Bayno. "Hes helped me a lot, especially on the post-up moves. Now I feel much more comfortable going against those guys, like big centres. What were working on every day is helping." Bayno, like head coach Dwane Casey and the rest of the Raptors staff, has worked to manage Valanciunas own expectations and lesson the external pressure that he faces as an emerging star in the league. Theyre not overly concerned with his scoring totals or the number of touches he gets in the post. He shouldnt be either. They know his value, at least this season, cant be measured using a box score. Instead they hope to lay down a foundation for the future. His role is to do the things he can control, to master the basic fundamentals of the game that will ensure his longevity in the league. The "little things" as Bayno calls them. "Were a good team because hes accepted his role and hes done all the little things," said Bayno, formally an assistant in Portland and with the Timberwolves. "I really believe hes going to be a good scorer in this league." "Im not expecting a lot of point production every night out of him," echoed Casey. "If he gives it to us, its great but I dont want to put that kind of pressure on him. Hes growing, hes a second-year guy. Im not going to expect him to get 23 points, 24 points every night. If he does, its gravy. If he runs the floor, rebounds, plays defence, for this team, this year, thats great. I promise you, his offence is going to come. We all want it to hurry up and get here yesterday but Im more concerned about him picking up the speed of the game, the rebounding, defending the low post, defending his position and reacting in the half-court game. His career is going to be long enough. Hes going to be a scorer in this league two or three years from now." A month ago at this time Valanciunas was pressing. The touches were not there every night, his scoring numbers dipped, as did his playing time. More often than not Casey would opt for a smaller, more experienced lineup late in games. Valanciunas was frustrated. Then the card went up in his locker. He sees it nearly each day, before and after every home game. Currently, hes playing some of the best basketball of his young career. Whether his improved play is related or a happy coincidence, he has been carrying out the very tasks Casey and company have been emphasizing. In Sundays win over Atlanta, Valanciunas recorded his team-leading 19th double-double of the season after totaling eight as a rookie a year ago. He played 33 minutes, attempting just four shots while matching a career-high with nine made free throws. His impact on the game was understated, yet significant. His point production has gone up but, as Casey points out, hes not necessarily seeing more touches. Instead hes working for them. Hes running the floor, hes rebounding, hes getting to the line and as a result hes playing more and closing out games. He understands how his bread is buttered, at least for the time being. "Im not a scoring machine," Valanciunas acknowledged. "Im a worker. My job is to get a rebound, to set a screen to make DeMar (DeRozan) open, or Kyle (Lowry) open, or [Ross] open, whoever is playing on the perimeter. My job is to box out [and] go for offensive rebounds. Thats my job." In less than four weeks, Valanciunas will make his first playoff appearance. Although hes peaking at the right time of season, the internal expectations havent changed. Outwork your man, set hard screens, box out, run the floor, do the little things. Hes heard them every day since arriving in training camp five months ago. Hes practiced them. Only now, handwritten in bright, unmistakable lettering, they stare him in the face. Bismack Biyombo Raptors Jersey . Ashley Wagner will skate in the womens short program for a U.S. team thats in seventh place. Davis and White won the silver medal at the Vancouver Games and are two-time world champions. Terrence Ross Raptors Jersey . UEFA said Wednesday that the champions of England and France only have to include five home-trained players in their 21-man squads next season instead of the expected eight. Only one of the five players needs to be trained by the club itself. http://www.authenticraptorsauthority.com/jonas-valanciunas-raptors-jersey-c-8/ . For the first time all night, as the Raptors were on the clock to make the 20th overall selection, no one had the slightest idea what was about to happen. No leaks, no whispers, nothing.WINNIPEG - The Winnipeg Jets have signed goaltender Michael Hutchinson to a US$1.15-million, two-year contract. Hutchinson, a 24-year-old restricted free agent, will count $575,000 against the salary cap each season if he remains in the NHL. The Barrie, Ont., native could be Ondrej Pavelecs backup next season if the Jets dont add a veteran. The contract is two-way in 2014-15, meaning hell have a different salary in the AHL, and one-way in 2015-16. DeMar DeRozan Raptors Jersey. Hutchinson made his NHL debut April 7 and played three games for the Jets this past season. He went 2-1-0 with a 1.64 goals-against average and .943 save percentage. He helped the AHLs St. Johns IceCaps to the Calder Cup final last month. Hutchinson was originally a third-round pick of the Boston Bruins in 2008. 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