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Monday, May 27, 2024

French National, Victor Wembanyama likely first pick of the 2023 NBA Draft

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NEW YORK (USA) – At this moment, it seems certain that Victor Wembanyama will be the first pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. If everything goes as expected, Wembanyama  – one of the most highly-touted young prospects ever – will be headed to San Antonio to play for the Spurs.

“I just want France to be the biggest basketball nation in the world and for a long time.”

 

 

Once that is all officially in the books, Wembanyama (and the basketball world) can look forward to the next big question to be answered.

Will Victor Wembanyama play for France at the FIBA Basketball World Cup?

If it were entirely up to him, there doesn’t seem to be a doubt.

“The will is always there,” Wembanyama told L’Equipe in French. “Even though I need to do things in a proper order and I need to talk with my franchise.”

If and whenever Wembanyama’s World Cup commitment is confirmed, we’ll finally get to see a bit more of what the youngster is capable of – as well as what his role will be with Les Bleus. For France national team head coach and Wembanyama’s coach at Metropolitans 92 Vincent Collet, there’s a desire for the big man to be a leader for the national team.

That will certainly be a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the 19-year-old, it’s something that he is expecting and has been prepared for.

“The first time I played for the national team in Lithuania, I was surprised by the responsibilities I had from the start,” said Victor, referencing his senior national team debut at the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers. “I try to be humble. There are some players with more experience, I need to respect that. I had never had such a role before – only at the U19 World Cup and that defeat in the Final still haunts me.”

“But the French national team, it is devotion. If you put this jersey on, you need to give it all, you need to sacrifice. I’m ready for any kind of role.”

Wembanyama’s rise over the recent years from the U16 European Championship in 2019 to the U19 World Cup in 2021 to the World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers is now about to hit another milestone as he is set to be the first French No.1 NBA draft pick ever. From there, hopefully, the next breakthrough for him will be a World Cup debut.

It’s these upcoming events that Wemby hopes will be marked as a historical beginning. A French revolution, in a sense.

“I hope that soon, people will be able to tell that there is a distinction between what happened before and what starts today for French Basketball on the global stage,” he said. “I want us, together, to start a reign.”

“I want a French reign, not like Napoleon,” he added with a laugh.

“I just want France to be the biggest basketball nation in the world and for a long time. I want people to see us that way. [I want us to] move past USA.”

“[I want] that USA before a competition, will say: ‘We need to go and beat France’.”

France will announce their roster in Paris on June 28th.

ViaFIBA

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