Victor Wembanyama (2.18m), the young Center player of the Nanterre training center multiplies high-flying performances with the France team who are playing this Friday the semi-finals of the Euro U16.
In Udine, Italy, one sees only him. And not only because of his 2.18m size. Since the start of the Euro U16, which takes place in the capital of the Friuli region, Victor Wembanyama impresses all observers. As always with the young Center player of Nanterre! But this time, the floor albatross (2.31m wingspan) took the big game. Wednesday night against Croatia, his performance even came close to perfection with 12 points, 21 rebounds, 8 blocks, including a determining one at the last second. A rare performance, under the watch of his parents, which got France to qualify for the semifinal that will take place tonight (21h) against the host country.
“What he does is exceptional but I’m not surprised, we know what he is capable of, says Fred Donnadieu, general manager of Nanterre 92. Having a player of 2.15m in a team is a plus, but he has in addition good passing skills and a rare sense of blocking and positioning. We are proud and happy because his performances show that the work done by the coaches and educators of the club is effective. But let’s keep calm and not panicked when he might slow down. I’m not worried because he’s a good kid.”
A position he wants to keep
He was not sure to be among the chosen ones for the Euro. At the end of the Bellegarde tournament in April, Bernard Faure, the coach, had not hidden a certain disappointment and seemed determined to do without him. “He remains very child, explained the coach. He is still trying things just to attempt them instead of trying to be effective. There is a software switch not easy to implement. Obviously the one who will start his second year of highschool in a few days with a year ahead, understood the message. “I have to focus on my game and nothing else to keep progressing,” said the 15-year-old, the youngest of the selection. After debuting at the Entente Le Chesnay-Versailles, Victor arrived in Nanterre at the age of 10. Since the club broods the one who is considered a unique player in the history of French basketball and is already on the shelves of the biggest clubs in Europe… and NBA franchises. At the same age, he is ahead of a certain Rudy Gobert.
In June, during 3 weeks, Victor made a specific preparation with Vincent Dziagwa (physical trainer of the club) and Philippe Da Silva (assistant of Pascal Donnadieu). His mother takes care of his diet and a dietitian follows him. He has been living at the training center for a year and recently signed a two-year pro-aspirant contract. “This year he will play with the Espoirs and the U18s by being outclassed and train with the pros when possible, tells Fred Donnadieu. The aim is that he stays as long as possible with us and that he can integrate the pros within the next two years.” Before a scheduled flight for the NBA.
If you are more into Tennis rather than Basketball, check out the draw for the US Open 2019!