NBA News: Jonas Valanciunas DUI Charge Creates Unnecessary Distraction for Playoff-Bound Toronto Raptors
By James Patrick Quizon | April 9, 2014 2:04 AM EST
Toronto Raptors sophomore center Jonas Valanciunas was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol on Monday after allegedly being spotted with open beer bottle while passing by a drive-thru, according to a report from CBC Sports.
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“Valanciunas is charged with having greater than 80 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood and is to appear in court in nearby Collingwoodon April 22” according the report.
Police officers traced the vehicle to Valanciunas’ home where they arrested the Raptors big man.
"I hold myself to a high standard and take my role as a member of the Toronto Raptors very seriously," Valanciunas said via an official statement.
"I apologize to the organization, my teammates, my family and my fans, and regret any negativity this incident has brought upon them."
Aside from the legal troubles, the more pressing concern for Valanciunas is that the situation could create a distraction for the playoff-bound Raptors, which is appearing in the postseason for the first time in six years.
The 21-year-old Lithuanian has been one of the key players for Toronto this season averaging 11 points and 8.6 rebounds in 76 games.
The April 22nd court date will fall smack in the middle of the Raptors first round series where they have homecourt advantage. If found guilty, Valanciunas could also face suspension from the NBA office.
“We take this matter very seriously," said the Raptors official statement "as we have the highest expectations for all members of our organization. At this time we are continuing to gather information and we will comment further when appropriate.”
The Raptors host the lowly Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday and Valanciunas is expected to be drilled by the media in his first public appearance since the incident.
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