Victor Wembanyama: “The French team is always an extra motivation”

Luckily I’m not claustrophobic! With a smile on his face, Victor Wembanyama launched his first speech in the French senior team with a touch of humor. Near the parquet floor of the Maurice-Thorez Sports Palace, a forest of microphones and cameras surrounded the young prodigy from Boulogne-Levallois (2.21 m, 18 years old) who should open his selection file this Friday in Lithuania (6:30 p.m. ) . One more step after an excellent start to the club’s season.

“You are going to wear the blue shirt for the first time as seniors, it is a special moment…
I have already played in the France youth team. (U-16 European silver medalist and U-19 world silver medalist) And that always gives me extra motivation. It is very important to me. I also find it in my teammates, in my opponents: fighting for your country is totally different, it gives you more energy.

“I’m going to try to bring freshness, presence on the ground”

What do you expect from your first selection, on Friday in Lithuania (6:30 p.m.)?
I will try to include myself in the project, adapt myself as well as possible to try to bring two wins to the French team. I will try to bring freshness, presence on the ground. In the France team, in FIBA ​​and at all levels, it starts with defense, so I will try to bring that energy.

Do you expect to dominate as with Boulogne-Levallois in the Championship (number 1 in the evaluation)?
I wouldn’t say that, first you have to adapt and get to know this FIBA ​​senior level. Before starting the season with Boulogne, he didn’t tell me “I must dominate”, we had to learn to play together in the team and the first goal is still to win, whatever it takes. I’ll try to replicate that with the France team, as it’s going pretty well in Boulogne-Levallois. Beyond the individual results, it is the collective project that works.

Both in the French national team and in Boulogne, you are coached by Vincent Collet, what is his role with you this week?
Vincent was one of the main reasons I joined Boulogne-Levallois, I had talked to him a lot before. I think he is my best asset here, I knew what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised beyond the level, the knowledge of him, with his involvement and how willing he is to do his best to have a personalized and healthy project.

What is your most memorable memory of the France team?
One of the strongest would be against Nicolás Batum (decisive, in the semi-finals of the 2021 Olympics against Slovenia). But what marked me especially was when I started in Nanterre as a professional, then in Asvel, it was playing against players that I saw in the France team when I was 10 years old like Antoine Diot. (teammate in Asvel last season). »

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