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BURNABY, B.C. - Like virtually every bulky seven-foot basketball player, Jonas Valanciunas isnt the most nimble of runners.He dips his head and furiously pumps his arms, a lumbering style that is one of his biggest weaknesses.So the Toronto Raptors decided to send their young centre to a place where they know a thing or two about running a€” Eugene, Ore., to work with renowned strength and conditioning coach Jim Radcliffe.Speed is the priority, Valanciunas said Thursday. When youre able to come back to contest a shot. . . Its going to help a lot. The 22-year-old Lithuanian went twice this past summer to Oregon a€” a hotbed for U.S. track and field for decades a€” to train with Radcliffe.The 56-year-old, whose lean physique could belong to a man three decades younger, is in his 29th year as strength and conditioning coach for the Oregon Ducks. Hes considered one of the foremost experts on sprint training in the U.S. and works with all of the Ducks teams to improve things like strength, speed, agility, and explosiveness.High knees, form, technique, how to run, how to use less energy, Valanciunas said of his training sessions. How to turn with less steps, he adds, and does an impromptu demonstration of a turn. It almost looks nimble.Among his innovative methods, Radcliffe studied Valanciunass foot strike by having him run barefoot on pieces of paper. The paper shooting out backwards translates to too much back kick and not enough driving of the knees; shooting forwards means over-reaching. Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who spent a couple days observing Radcliffes methods, said Valanciunas remains a work in progress, and wont be lacing on the track spikes any time soon.Hes running better, hes getting there, I dont think he looks like Usain Bolt yet, but hes doing better, Casey said. I think more than anything else hes more conscious of it now, hes lighter on his feet. . . more efficient.A lot of times you can expend so much energy by using too much of your arms and kind of flailing all over the place, and not going anywhere. . . so that was one of the main things, run lighter, more efficient, keep your arms tighter to the body, head more erect than (bent) over.Altering his running style hasnt been easy, and Valanciunas said he still catches himself reverting to old habits.Its not going to change it over the summer, he said. Ive got to do that years and years.Jeff Weltman, the Raptors vice-president of operations, was largely responsible for sending Valanciunas to Oregon, and said the team is always up for new training techniques.The way (Radcliffe) was talking, saying The way I want to introduce his feet to the floor and all this, its new lingo for us, Weltman said. Thats part of summers, keeping it fresh and making sure its not the same thing over and over, getting introduced to new ideas and bringing them back here.Weltman said he could see a difference in Valanciunas at the FIBA World Cup, where he led the tournament in field goal percentage and was a standout for Lithuania.I think his balance is better, I think hes running better and his conditioning, Weltman said. He sees the way that he needs to train in a different light now. Three days into training camp at Fortius Sport & Health in Burnaby, his teammates have noticed improvement in Valanciunas, and not simply in his running.Hes grown a lot as a man, and with him playing for his country this past summer, he did extremely well and I think thats going to carry over to our team, and hes been showing it in these practices, said DeMar DeRozan, who helped the United States to World Cup gold.(DeRozan laughingly admitted to trash-talking Valanciunas when the U.S. played Lithuania in Spain. It was all fun and games, he said.)Chuck Hayes, who guards Valanciunas in practice, said hes more aggressive than last season.Hes always working on the offensive glass, which is what you need, and hes demanding the ball a lot, Hayes said. We dont always give it to him in practice; in practice Im guarding him all the time and hes always demanding the ball. Over the course of the season thats going to come into big play for us.Asked if hes seen a speedier Valanciunas, Hayes laughed and said Its getting there. When he runs, he kind of dips his head when he gets going. But hes moving, hes moving.The Raptors will train at Fortius, the training headquarters of Canadas womens soccer team among other teams, through Saturday. Theyll host the Sacramento Kings in their pre-season opener at Rogers Arena on Sunday. Cheap NBA Jerseys .This one was bigger than most.Ben Roethlisberger and LeVeon Bell came up big in a game that Pittsburgh had to win Sunday, leading the Steelers to a 42-21 drubbing of the Cincinnati Bengals that left the AFC North race wide open. Cheap Jerseys 2018 . PETERSBURG, Fla. http://www.nfljerseyscheapwholesalechina.com/. -- The anointed starting quarterback for the Oakland Raiders is strengthening his hold on the position this training camp instead of losing it. Jerseys NFL Cheap . The four-time Grand Slam champion has beaten Hantuchova nine straight times, with the Slovaks only win coming when they first played 10 years ago. "I had a tough first opponent who can play extremely good tennis," Sharapova said. Wholesale China Jerseys . -- First baseman Carlos Pena and outfielder Brennan Boesch have signed minor league deals with the Los Angeles Angels. IRVING, Texas -- David Duval gets only limited chances on the PGA Tour these days, much different than 15 years ago when he was the No. 1 player in the world. So Duval gutted it out Thursday at the Byron Nelson Championship despite the pain from a muscle issue in his right elbow, a day after his stepson had to drive him because he couldnt even use that arm. "Im just glad I chose to tee off today because I was seriously considering not," said Duval, who almost withdrew about a half-hour before his round. Duval, now 42 years old and ranked 890th in the world, birdied his last three holes -- Nos. 7-9 -- after pitching in from 57 feet for another birdie at the fifth hole. He shot 4-under 66, a stroke behind leader Peter Hanson and tied with Marc Leishman and Tim Wilkinson. After a bogey on his 12th hole, the 528-yard third hole, Duval was even par for his round. He had the long pitch on No. 5, and a similar shot from 43 feet at the par-5 seventh hole started his closing birdie stretch. He sank putts of 3 1/2 and 17 feet to finish. "Im tickled pink it feels as good as it does right now," Duval said. "Im not getting to play a whole lot right now and it would have been a hard thing to swallow not to be able to tee off." Duvals arm started bothering him Tuesday when he hit 20 or 30 balls after getting to North Texas, and he managed to play only six holes after having a trainer work on his arm. He had an injection that night and hit only 20 or 30 more balls Wednesday before he couldnt even move his arm. He got more treatment before teeing off Thursday. As a 13-time winner on the PGA Tour, his last victory in the 2001 British Open, Duval has past champion status. But past champions are 32nd in the line of 36 categories to fill open spots in tournament fields. "A little disadvantage when you dont get to play consistently," he said. "But I have the utmost confidence in what Im trying to do right now, and I feel like I can succeed even with that sporadic schedule." Martin Kaymer, The Players Championship winner Sunday, waas among eight players at 67.dddddddddddd. When Duval finished his round, he had a share of the lead -- until Hanson sank a 6-foot putt at No. 18 for his only back-nine birdie. Duval hasnt led the end of any round on the PGA Tour since the fourth of five rounds at Las Vegas in 2002. This is his only his eighth tournament this season, matching last years total. Hanson made the turn at 5 under after shooting 30 on the front side. The Swede couldnt keep up the pace on the back nine at TPC Four Seasons that he hadnt played before Thursday because of travel issues and a sore back. "I still have quite a bit of pain, but I really wanted to play this week," Hanson said. "Heading over to Europe the next two weeks. We have a big tournament, Wentworth, and then my national open back in Sweden the week after that. This is a bit of a test." Leishman was the only of the top four who played in the morning, and had a tap-in birdie putt at the par-3 second hole. His only bogey, at the 431-yard fourth hole after missing the green, was sandwiched by a pair of birdies. "It was fairly stress-free for the most part," the Australian said after hitting 13 of 14 fairways and 16 greens in regulation. It was Leishmans best-scoring round since opening with a 66 at Torrey Pines in January when he was the runner-up with his second consecutive top-five finish. In eight tournaments since, he missed three cuts and his only finish in the top 30 was his tie for 23th at The Players Championship. Jordan Spieth had to birdie two of his last three holes for an even-par 70 at the course where he made the cut as an amateur at ages 16 and 17. Spieth, now 20 and the eighth-ranked player in the world, had a double-bogey 6 after driving into the water at No. 3, his 12th hole. With a large gallery following him only four days after he was in the final group with Kaymer at The Players, the Masters runner-up from Dallas hit only four of 14 fairways and 10 of 18 greens in regulation. Spieth played with defending Nelson champ Sang-Moon Bae, the South Korean who had an opening 73. ' ' '

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