By Antonis Stroggylakis/ [email protected]
French superprospect Victor Wembanyama is currently projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and rightfully so. The 18-year-old player is overflowing with talent and carries unlimited potential, while exhibiting an astounding combination of length, size (7 ft 4 in), plus the skill, shooting range and mobility to go with them. It’s an overall extremely attractive package that makes him a unicorn of the rarest of breeds.
With the upcoming season in France beginning this weekend (23/9), Wembanyama stated that he looks forward to further establishing himself as a favorite to be selected first in next year’s Draft.
“What matters to me this season is above all to consolidate a place as a possible No. 1 pick in the Draft,” Wembanyama said during the Media Day ahead of the 2022-23 French League per BasketSession. “That’s my goal, rather than trying to put on 15 kilos and take risks. I want to strengthen myself, but above all to move towards a favorable situation for the NBA.”
While securing the No. 1 spot in the Draft is a certified goal for Wembanyama, at the same time the young big man realizes that his placement won’t be a determining factor in how his career will evolve and what kind of player he’ll become in the future.
“Sports-wise, the most interesting thing is always to find an organization that will take care of the project and the player, Wembanyama mentioned. “So it’s better to be second, third, or 20th in the Draft if you have a better career afterward. But, I don’t know if it’s pride, I have a part in me that says that there must be no one in front of me.”
Wembanayama signed with Metropolitans 92 for 2022-23 after deciding to leave Tony Parker’s ASVEL Villeurbanne earlier in summer. He’ll play under French national team coach Vincent Collet.
“He is surely the greatest French coach,” Wembanyama said. “So it’s someone I have 100 percent confidence on him when it comes to basketball level, tactical level. He is also someone ambitious, who respects my project and with whom I feel to spend a calm year and full of ambitions before the draft.”
Unlike the previous season where he could compete in both the EuroLeague and the French League with ASVEL, Wembanayma will now play only on a domestic level. This contributed greatly to his decision to join a team like Metropolitans since he’ll have fewer games and trips and thus more time for individual practices, working on his body and conditioning.
“One match a week is really the ideal format,” Wembanayama commented. “I don’t need to take risks playing more than that. Frankly, for development, there is none better. I want to start doing what I was doing in the past and I had less time to do. That is to say an individual work with different coaches and bodybuilding with Guillaume Alquier, who has also just signed in Boulogne-Levallois.”