Who is Victor Wembanyama, the new French basketball star?

Fans of the orange ball have been following his career with great interest for the past two years. Victor Wembanyama, who currently plays with Metropolitans 92 in Betclic Élite, the first division of French basketball, has a lot of buzz about him even across the Atlantic. Yes, the 19-year-old, standing at 2.21 m, is impressive even in the hallowed ranks of the NBA. Even look out for a new French prospect, considered the greatest potential ever seen in our regions…

Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Joakim Noah, Evan Fournier, Rudy Gobert… Many Frenchmen have already made a name for themselves on the court. Hexagonal basketball should still have a bright future as consistency looks well and truly assured. We are not even talking about Frank Ntilikina, Kyllian Hayes or Theo Maledon, who recently had the honor of flying to the most prestigious league in the United States, but about a very young player who still plays on our soil. Finally, for the long haul… Introducing Victor Vembanyama, the prodigy who has been heralded as the No. 1 pick in the next NBA Draft.

Born on January 4, 2004 in Chesnay, Yvelines, he grew up sporting the skin of a man who just turned 19. Undoubtedly, he owes his great height to his father, Felix Wembanyama, a 2m athlete: 2.21m with a wingspan of over 2.40m. That’s it. But the little giant chose to walk in the footsteps of her mother, Elodie de Fautero, the latter a former basketball player turned coach. Although he made his debut with Nanterre 92’s U11 team at the age of 10, at 1.80m tall, Victor Vembanyama was not the only sibling to try his luck on the floors since his older sister Eve. will also be an orange ball pro and their younger brother Oscar will also start.

After several successes in the youth ranks, it could be said that he stood out from the crowd, Victor Vembanyama joined the Nanterre first team in 2019. The young strong winger was chosen as the best hope of 2020 and quickly won the French championship. -21 seasons. What suggested him to climb to the top in France: ASVEL. With Tony Parker’s club, the prodigy explores European fields by participating in the Euroleague and is once again named the Best Hope for the 2021-22 season. After that, the young man makes a surprising decision: he leaves the team that defended the French championship three times and joins Metropolitans 92. But this option will be profitable, because Levallois was trained by the coach by chance with the club. Blues Vincent Collet, Victor Wembanyama can start dreaming bigger.

NBA prodigy hallucinates in front of Wemby

Last October, when Betclic Elite was reinstated a few days ago, Metropolitans 92 flew to Las Vegas for two gala matches against NBA G League (American minor league) clubs. For Victor Wembanyama, the lure operation couldn’t have worked out any better. The young Frenchman quickly caught the attention of the Americans, impressed with his mobility and technical ease despite his large size, and made great moves to finish with impressive statistics: 37 points, 4 rebounds and 5 blocks in the first game. , then 36. points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks in the second.

Victor Wembanyama has been the talk of the United States ever since these exhibition games, where he notably went up against Scoot Henderson, a young American who is among the favorites for the next NBA Draft. Although he’s already affectionately nicknamed “Wemby,” his exceptional play has earned him the title of “unicorn” across the Atlantic, even if LeBron James prefers the term “alien,” for the beauty of his gesture:

Victor Wembanyama, 1st in the 2023 Draft?

Since then, many have been betting on Victor Vembanyama as the first pick in the next NBA draft, the celebratory event where the famous league recruits college players and other high-potential youngsters. This happens right after the Finals to quickly prepare for the new season. This year, the date is set for June 22, 2023, and if Wemby is indeed chosen first to join the NBA franchise, he will de facto make French basketball history, as it would be a great first for a French player. .

Remember that being the first choice of the draft is a prestige. Some big names on the parquet floor started like this: we think of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James… But if this is a good sign of obvious talent, it is not everything in a career, others are high. Those who were picked in the past ended up being disappointed in their careers, and some were picked even lower, which didn’t stop them from becoming superstars. Hi Tony Parker, drafted 28th overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 2001, or Giannis Antetokounmpo, drafted 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013.

Wemby is also a key asset for the French team

Still, it would be a (very) good sign for Victor Wembayama, who has continued to have the odds on his side since his show in Las Vegas. On December 29, his participation in the All-Star Game LNB became the youngest MVP in the history of the competition, scoring 27 points and 12 rebounds. Even recently, the powerful winger of Metropolitans 92 again made headlines in both French and American media for the Betclic Elite match against his former club ASVEL… Despite a slightly lower performance than he taught us (“only” 15 points, 9 rebounds , 5 blocks), Wemby scored with 3 seconds after the buzzer to give his team the victory this Monday, January 9, 84-83. A new shock move that has not gone unnoticed in the Atlantic:

So, while it looks like he has a bright future ahead of him in the NBA, here’s hoping that fate doesn’t prevent bad injuries (and the risk of being overlooked when he’s 2.21m tall), we wish him well. ), Victor Vembayama also has something to dream about in the tricolour. His Mets coach, Vincent Collet, obviously called him up to the Blues for the basketball World Cup qualifiers. Last November, he honored his first selection by scoring a solo 20 points in a 90-65 rout of Lithuania. Another great performance for “chaylan”, who promises to participate in the World Cup scheduled from August 25 to September 10. Where to start dreaming about the 2024 Paris Olympics: After silver in Tokyo, can Team France aim for gold with Victor Vembanyama in their workforce?

Sources: Olimpia, Le Monde, Franceinfo, Parlons Basket, Eurosport, Basket Session, L’Équipe

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