Without a shirt, Juhann Bégarin extends training and doubles shots on a basket with a member of the staff. A few meters away, seated on a bench, Amara Sy, Ismaël Kamagate and Gauthier Denis in full discussion. The atmosphere is calm and relaxed, this Sunday at the beginning of the afternoon at the place of basketball life in Paris, the huge sports complex The One Ball in Noisy-le-Grand. However, the situation is critical for the capital club.
Having been battered six times over the final seven days of the regular season unable to secure the maintenance they seemed unable to escape in April, the Parisians were just one step ahead of the relegation zone. On Tuesday evening (8:30 p.m.), they will simply play their future at Betclic Elite on the Boulogne Levallois floor.
Metropolitans who, though in a complete internal war between the representatives of Levallois and Boulogne, would not make a gift to their neighbour. The stakes are high for them as they still manage to finish the season in one of the top two spots in the tournament, a ranking that provides a pitch advantage at least until the playoffs final. They just recruited shooter Obi Emegano as Jordan McRae’s medical clown.
For Paris, the proposed challenge is clearly more important and vital. To avoid leaving the French basketball elite just one year after landing their first dribbles there, the club, which was set up in 2018, must beat one of the champions of the tournament or, in the event of a setback, hope a slip from Fos travels to Portel or Orléans heading to Gravelines.
“We wouldn’t expect anything from the other teams to keep focusing on us and our game, winger Gautier Denis makes clear. We would have preferred not to be in this situation but it is useless to put more pressure on this situation. We are focused on what we have to do. We know that We can do that.”
Present in Paris, US President David Kahn, “quiet” according to his entourage, did not cause meetings with the players to leave them in their bubble and concentration. Coach Jean-Christophe Pratt brought them together after training last Thursday to remind them that there was still a “final to play”. “They know the context,” Pratt continues. We have our fate in our hands. You just have to prepare, it’s a life and death match. But the players are anxious and alert. »
“One of the most important matches in the club’s history.”
“We already saw each other among the players after the non-match at Chalon Reims (109-77, May 3), explains Amara Sy, who will play the last match of her phenomenal career against her younger brother Bandja, the Mets winger. We will not meet again to repeat the same things. If you scream all the time, we won’t listen to you anymore. We must stop talking and doing. We know what we have to do. It’s up to us to show it on the pitch. So it is time for sacred unity.
While they were supposed to travel to the United States in the aftermath of last week’s game against Limoges, pivotal Ismael Camagati (who will appear in the NBA draft in June) and goalkeeper Johan Begarin (who should return to from camping With the Boston Celtics franchise drafted last year) he stayed in this round of the season. To save the club from its professional beginning.
Consciousness can also be observed in communication on social networks. The club used to promote marketing operations, and it gave priority to the sporting cause. “There is no crisis meeting but we are aware of the issue,” says Matthias Breeze, the club’s director of basketball operations. It is clearly one of the most important matches in the club’s history. Probably more than that that happened in the ascent last year. »
Relegation to Pro B would obviously be a fiasco for the club. The consequences will be dire for the image. Above all, it would be a huge setback for the project. Many partnerships can be suspended or discontinued.
« Ce serait un coup d’arrêt forcément car il y avait un bel engouement autour du club mais, comme dans tout, il faut savoir se relever après un échec, savoir rebondir, poursuit Amara Sy qui entamera sa reconversion auquo ‘he arrived. Nothing is lost. We’ve already had some hits this year (Victories against Asvel, Pau or… Boulogne-Levallois), we will try to make one last in Serdan. We don’t have a choice. »
“Last year we went up on the last day, remembers Pratt. It would be good to bring us luck again. I’m not planning to go down, and we won’t anticipate the consequences of what at the moment is just a hypothesis. Basketball in Paris is a great project, with the arena capacity of 8000 seats (Under construction, the door of the prayer hall) which will open in 2023. It’s up to us to make sure the team is in Betclic when we get in. »
“There is no reason to question the project, assures Preeze. Stop yes, but not the end. On the other hand, it is impossible for the club not to be in the elite when opening the track. It would be a disaster. Paris has 40 minutes to avoid this scenario.