The nugget of French basketball has decided to give another direction to his career. A year after signing with ASVEL, Victor Wembanyama signed up with the Metropolitans 92 – trained by national coach Vincent Collet – for two seasons with his sights set on the No. 1 spot in the draft in 2023.
ASVEL and Wembanyama, it’s already over. The young 18-year-old star chose to play his last season in Europe, before the 2023 draft, not at ASVEL, but at Boulogne-Levallois.
After leaving his training club Nanterre for ASVEL last year and signing a two-year contract, he seemed destined to settle into TJ Parker’s system, but he decided not to activate the clause of his second season in the Rhône. A surprise decision because he had to be at the center of the project and ASVEL was betting a lot on him.
But a disappointing season with many physical glitches added to the desire to get closer to the Paris region pushed him to commit to the Metropolitans 92 rather than respond favorably to one of the many European clubs that courted him.
The presence of Vincent Collet, the coach, also weighed in his choice, as the player acknowledged when his arrival was made official: “In addition to having the opportunity to work with Vincent Collet, I the chance to join an ambitious team project that will allow me to continue my progress as well as possible. I think I made the best choice for my career.”
Vincent Collet takes Wembanyama under his wing
Vincent Collet was also delighted with this high-end arrival in his workforce, convinced that his move to Boulogne-Levallois could only be beneficial to him:
“We will do everything we can to support Victor and help him achieve his goals. Victor is one of the greatest hopes of world basketball, he still has to develop like all young people, his arrival is fully in line with the club’s development project. »
Even if his season at ASVEL was frustrating, marked by injuries, Wembanyama acquired significant and important experience in building his career with the discovery of the Euroleague. In 13 matches in this competition, he has worse statistics than in the league with an average of 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds in 17 minutes, 38% on shots against 9.4 points at 47% and 5.1 rebounds in 18 minutes in Betclic Elite, but it allowed him to understand the very high level.
“The best club to continue my progress”
The coming season will be important for the one who was elected best youngster in the championship for the second year in a row. Even if he will be put in the best conditions with the presence of Vincent Collet, Wembanyama will live a season with great pressure. He will be expected and his performance scrutinized after his departure from ASVEL and one year from the 2023 draft where he is announced in 1st place.
If his physique leaves him alone, he will have playing time to express himself, the club should offer him a lot of playing time, he will not play the Euroleague, nor even the EuroCup, the Euroleague having finally invited the Betting Basketball.
Jean-Aimé Toupane, who knew him well in the youth categories in the France team, is not worried about the rest of his career: “Victor, he needs to mature again, but it’s normal compared to at his age. People expect a lot from him and that’s normal too because he’s a player with great potential, he’s fast, smart, mobile, but we mustn’t forget that he’s still young. His big strength is that he’s good on both sides of the pitch and he’s very mobile for his size.
Wembanyama wants to rock the French parquet floors
That’s really impressive. By chaining the matches, he will gain in confidence. I don’t worry about him, for his future, he has everything to become a big one, not just in size (laughs). He has a good mentality, you often have to slow him down and he takes responsibility naturally. »
Spectators of the Betclic Elite will therefore have one last opportunity to see the Ile-de-France phenomenon on the French courts before its probable flight to the United States next year. He already has a high popularity rating across the Atlantic and could even finish first in the draft. He would then join the contingent of French players present in the NBA and he has the potential, the qualities, the mentality to win in the most difficult championship in the world and to become one of its stars.