The national coach and the former captain of the Blues commented on Wednesday on the package of “Wemby” for the Basketball World Cup.
“A necessary sacrifice“. So how Victor Wembanyama justified his refusal to participate in the 2023 World Cup (August 25-September 10) basketball this summer, in Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines. Nevertheless, San Antonio’s newest player has shown its desire to compete in this competition for many months. He reiterated this position in recent days, just before being chosen No. 1 in the NBA Draft, last Thursday, a first for a French player. “Sure to have it? No, but I really want it and I think it would be desirable for him», said Vincent Collet after the final of Betclic Elite lost by the Mets 92 against Monaco in mid-June.
Wishes that have therefore remained in vain. “I was inevitably a little surprised and disappointed, it’s obviousrecognized the coach of the Blues, Wednesday, in a press conference, after the announcement of the list for the World Cup at the headquarters of France Télévisions. Any coach wants to have his best players and he is already an important player.»
The Norman technician, however, does not want his now ex-player in Boulogne-Levallois. In fact, he even happily dons the “Wemby” lawyer suit. “I am not unaware of the stakes. We cannot measure what he is going through right now, as soon as he sets foot on American soil. It’s not just a first round of Draft, but a number 1, announced as a “game changer”. There are a lot of expectations, things around him, which, certainly, at the level of those around him, made him fear overheating. That’s how I took it. Afterwards, you have to know how to switch and project yourself with a team that I find really competitive and which can allow us to nurture real ambitions.“, insists the coach of the Blues.
He also specified that he had to adjust his list after having learned “tardily» the decision of the 19-year-old prodigy. Package which invited him to choose… one more winger, and not an interior. And this in particular in order to offer the possibility to Mathias Lessort to express himself more and to give more minutes to the ghost Nicolas Batum at post 4.
There is always that “everyone understandsWembanyama’s decision, according to Boris Diaw. “Whether in the staff, the players with whom I discussed. Of course, selfishly, we would like to have him with us, we know what he can bring in terms of basketball. But in the long term, over a career, we can understand that the sequence of competitions is difficult. When players make choices, it is sometimes also to be present later», underlines the ex-captain of the France team, today general manager of the men’s selection, like Céline Dumerc for the ladies.
In short, it’s a shame he’s not here, but no one blames Victor Wembanyama, already a three-time international and who will also make his debut with the Texas club during the Summer League in Las Vegas, July 7-17, depending on the local press. To see if he will play from the 7th against the Hornets of Brandon Miller, the number 2 in the last Draft. In the meantime, he will be able to breathe for a few days and the Sacramento Summer League, from July 3 to 5.
The weight of the surroundings
The package of the new darling of French basketball, however, goes badly with some. Especially after the declarations of the person concerned until the last few days. From there to creating a feeling of betrayal in the minds of some, there is only one step. But not at Collet, who even refused to use this term on Wednesday. “Feeling of betrayal? What he had said before was sincere. It was a reflection with those around him that led him to make this decision. He is young, fresh, enthusiastic. He likes the France team. There is in no way the feeling of which you speak. It’s disappointment. Like any coach who wants to have his best players, I regret it but not in the terms you used…“, he ures, weighing his words.
He’s in a situation where he doesn’t completely belong to himself, that’s normal.
And to continue:Victor would play the “pick-up games”! He loves the game. He’s 19, don’t forget that. He’s a great player, but still a kid. He’s in a situation where he doesn’t completely belong to himself, that’s normal.“The entourage in question will appreciate … But coach Collet does not have his tongue in his pocket, we know that.
“The term treason is really not appropriateconfirms Boris Diaw. He was sincere. He said he wanted to play, he didn’t say he would be present, that he would be there. He always wants to play it… But there are issues, external things that prevent him from playing it. I don’t think he lied, he was sincere. I think he still wants to play it.Eventually, he’ll be watching all of this from San Antonio.
It has no impact on Paris 2024.
One thing is certain: Wembanyama’s withdrawal this summer in no way calls into question his future in the French team and the prospect of the 2024 Olympics in Paris. Which no one doubted. “It’s not an option, I’ll be there», claimed the giant (2.26m) a few weeks ago. “Of course, we are counting on him, he will be a Victor who will have a year in the NBA and working with Gregg Popovich behind him, he will certainly be even stronger than he is today… incidence compared to Paris 2024sums up Vincent Collet, sure of his facts.
The future belongs to the native of Chesnay, that’s clear. The future of the Blues, the Spurs, perhaps the NBA! For the present, the coach has no complaints: he can rely on a group made up of Nicolas Batum, Nando De Colo, Evan Fournier or Rudy Gobert in order to climb on the box in Manila, again. Even the highest step?