Remember Nicholas Batum’s counterattack in the Tokyo Olympics semi-finals in August 2021? We are ok. It was even the last time we dropped our votes in front of the French basketball. And we were desperately waiting for the Euro, at the beginning of September, to get back to the push behind Vincent Colette and his flock. Barring that, meanwhile, the collar was taken by Monaco, which witnessed a stunning second part of the Euroleague, to the point of qualifying for the top eight and even tickling Olympiacos for a place in the Final Four.
The fifth game in Greece, at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, wrongly named that evening, had us, in vain, scurry off the couch, rocking behind Alpha Diallo, Mike James and his buddies. We are not the only ones who have taken our feet. “It’s the first time in a long time [Villeurbanne en 1997] Boulogne-Levallois coach Vincent Colette comments as Betclic Elite Head Coach of the Year, the new name of the French championship this season.
The coach of the French national team is also happy to have these two “locomotives”, with Asvel, in the French championship to bring everyone to the top: “The quality of the tournament is high, there is a clear development. It is the fact that the two big ones have been coordinated in the European League. This allows you to have behind the other clubs that’s built competitive teams. Less complete and less powerful than those two things, but it pulls everyone together. This year, we’ve had ten or twelve competing teams. And we haven’t always been like this.”
Proof of this is that the battle for the playoffs, which began on Tuesday, was fierce until the last day. Cholet took the last jumping seat at the expense of Le Mans and Nanterre. Even at the bottom of the standings, the fight was tough, and the ambitious Paris Basket project almost made it straight up the elevator before escaping there too on the final day. In short, suspense all around and crazy scenarios: “The tournament has taken on another dimension, with the emergence of Monaco and the ambitious Asfael project, assures Pascal Donadio, coach of Nanterre. There is a high intensity. But bigger budgets remain at the top.”
There is still progress
Bologna-Levallois, who has been at the helm of the regular season for a long time, is the fourth budget for the late Pro A. Thus, Pau-Orthez is third, behind Monaco and Asfal. Passed under the American flag last summer, Bearnais won the Coupe de France, their first title since 2007. “It’s a tournament that has become so intense, with so much talent and youngsters, that Chris Singleton, one of the voices basketball players for beIN Sports, admits All the qualifiers will be broadcast. I was very impressed with the level of foreigners, like Will Cummings, the best player of the season, and two French players as well. There is, for example, a great quality in the leaders.”
However, the tournament, even if it has made progress in many aspects, is still far from the best European country, Spain. And there are several points that need improvement: “For example, we coaches are worried. Our progress will help our teams improve,” explains Vincent Colette, who knows what he’s talking about. After being expelled from Strasbourg, he took a year off and seized the opportunity to quickly wake up to get back in better shape with the Mets 92:
I worked a lot on all the elements of training, and I did the monitoring job by watching a lot of matches. It’s part of the coach’s life, but you don’t always have time to study the game, see what’s being done elsewhere, when you’re in the washing machine. »
“We are an atypical tournament, with exceptional physical and athletic qualities,” continues Pascal Donadio. We must improve, we must mix that with players who have more intelligence, basketball IQ. The actors still need to improve in order for the show to be the best possible quality. And how. We improve it all? With more money, of course. If the budgets of French clubs are growing sharply, it is still difficult for them to attract the best European players, and sometimes it is difficult for them to keep their nuggets, and dream of the NBA or the Euroleague, far from the cradle.
Where do you look for money? Pascal Donadio has a very specific idea: “For a sport of public renown, with a brilliant French team, and a championship club at the gates of the Final Four, we have a TV contract at 0 €. That’s where the boot is pinched. Progress on the ground is not shed The light is on him so much. Rugby has made amazing progress in this area. We are light years away. We have to sell our products well.”
However, since December, the tournament poster has been broadcasted every week on beIN Sports. “They brought great credibility, admits Nicolas Lang, the back of Limoges. Since they broadcast the tournament, I have received a lot of messages from people who have never written to me after the match. The quality of the images, replays and comments is very important for French basketball.”
Especially since the returns are good, according to Chris Singleton: “We don’t mix things up: When we play Betclic Elite, we don’t talk about the NBA. We shine a light on the championship, the individuals. The crowd is loud [les chiffres ne nous ont pas été communiqués]. If all goes well we’re crossing our fingers, it’s an adventure that the channel wants to continue, because we’ve got really good feedback. “All that remains is to blow up the wallet so that all French basketball can benefit from it. This is the runoff.