de to his team, to his coaches, t

TORONTO - Over a dozen cameras and upwards of 30 reporters gathered in the hallway on the third floor of the Air Canada Centre, jockeying for position outside the Raptors practice facility Tuesday afternoon. New Balance 1600 Black . No, they were not staking out a spot for the playoffs, now 11 days away. They were not there to take in the teams final scheduled regular season practice. They were not on hand to inquire about the injured Kyle Lowry or Amir Johnson, both of whom had returned to the court. The gravity of Jonas Valanciunas drunk driving charge and arrest had transcended basketball, it was bigger than sport. It was news, and rightfully so. The Raptors starting centre was arrested early Monday morning for impaired driving in Wasaga Beach - roughly two hours north of Toronto - where he spent Sunday evening visiting friends. Valanciunas did not speak to the media Tuesday, as he had not yet met with his legal representatives, but those that did - GM Masai Ujiri, coach Dwane Casey and a couple of his veteran teammates - said all the right things. Understanding the severity of the 21-year-olds poor judgment, the organization made their message clear. Without condoning his actions, they stood united in support of their youngest player. "Like I told him, Im upset with him and disappointed in him but hes mine," said Casey. "So we love him." "He made a mistake, like any other young man has probably done before. We all make mistakes and its what we do after it [that] is how were going to be judged." The news of his arrest was surprising to those within the organization. Coaches, teammates and even fans have come to know the wide-eyed sophomore for his sincere, albeit quirky personality. Mondays events seemed out of character, to say the least. "Hes a great person, great kid," said Ujiri, maintaining Valanciunas hasnt, to his knowledge had prior plights with excessive alcohol use or bad decision making. "Weve never had any issues here with him, thats the honest truth." Valanciunas met with Ujiri for an hour on Monday. The following morning he sat down with Tim Leiweke and Larry Tanenbaum before addressing his coaches and teammates ahead of practice. "He sat in my office there yesterday," said the Raptors GM. "He knew, face in his hands, that he was sorry about it." "Hes very apologetic," Lowry echoed. "I mean hes sick right now. Hes really hurt by it, hes really embarrassed by it [and] very disappointed in himself. I can tell you that for sure." Per NBA policy, no punishment - from the league or the team - can be handed down until the legal process plays out. Although the Raptors are unlikely to issue any supplementary discipline, the league will come down on Valanciunas with a suspension - of likely two games - when and if hes convicted or theres a plea of guilt. The ramifications for Valanciunas - the player - are modest. Hell continue to play. Any suspension he faces wont take into effect until the beginning of next season, at the earliest. He will not be required to attend his initial court date on Apr. 22, shortly after the Raptors begin their first-round playoff series. Hes been enjoying one of the best stretches of his career and theres no reason why that shouldnt continue, assuming he can stave off the legal distractions that are likely to ensure. For Valanciunas - the person - the consequences are intricate. He has some damage control, some image repair to do. Most importantly, he has some growing up to do. In the last year, his second in the NBA, weve watched Valanciunas blossom on the court, sometimes losing sight of the fact that he is also growing and learning as a young man. Valanciunas - less than a month away from his 22nd birthday - made a mistake, a stupid one. Thankfully no one was hurt as a result. Given what we know about the young seven-footer its not hard to believe that the apology he made to his team, to his coaches, to the organization and fans was a sincere one. Some athletes, upon putting themselves in a similar predicament, have apologized mostly for being caught, which doesnt seem to be the case for a remorseful Valanciunas. What many of those other athletes havent had is the support system the Raptors can offer their young centre. Both Casey and Ujiri have positioned themselves as mentors and father figures, not only for Valanciunas but for all their players, while the teams locker room is filled with positive influences who have already begun to steer the sophomore in the right direction. "Be smart," Casey told him. "We all have to be smart. All of us have to be smart in what we do, how we carry ourselves off the floor, where we are [and] who we hang out with." "I talked to him and I made him understand that the things he did were wrong," Lowry said. "He just has to suffer the consequences that come with that." "Its unfortunate that it happened to such a good kid in JV," the 28-year-old point guard continued, "but it happened. Hes 21, hes going to learn from it and Im sure hes never going to make that mistake again." Ultimately, thats the true test, as Casey wisely pointed out. How does he learn from Mondays incident? Will he grow as a result of it? He made a mistake. What does he do next? New Balance 999 Womens Ireland .A. remained bitter for Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers on the long flight back home to New York. New Balance 574 Mens Black .J. - Henrik Lundqvist has done more than set a couple of franchise records for the New York Rangers this week.MANCHESTER, England -- Sunderland beat Manchester United 2-1 in a dramatic penalty shootout on Wednesday to advance to a League Cup final against Manchester City. After United scored in injury time of extra time to make it 2-1 on the night and 3-3 on aggregate, Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone saved the decisive spot kick from Rafael da Silva to put the visitors intoo only their second final. New Balance 574 Island Pack. Behind 2-1 from the first leg of the semifinal, United forced an extra 30 minutes after defender Jonny Evans stooped to head home in the 37th minute. United goalkeeper David de Gea fumbled Phil Bardsleys shot into his own net with two minutes left but Javier Hernandez forced penalties with a goal in stoppage time. Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys ' ' '

 

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