Thierry Tarbe III, from a surprise guest to a key part of the French squad

“I’m not going to lie, when I imagined the last group of twelve players for the Euro, I thought to myself: ‘He, surely, will not be there'”. This is how Evan Fournier spoke about his third teammate Thierry Tarbe, a few minutes after France’s precious victory over Lithuania (77-73), Saturday 3 September. Pregnant for the first time with the blues, the French-American played a major role in this capital’s success. Since then he hasn’t left Vincent Colette in fifth, and he’s still there, Saturday 10 September, against Turkey in the round of 16.

A situation hard to imagine just a few weeks ago when his choice of competition was not clear. Even for the coach: “I have to admit that when I was given a list of 17 players, I didn’t think he would be part of the twelve that were selected.”Vincent Colette slipped.

However, his role only grew to the point that the back winger spent barely less than thirty minutes on the floor during the Blues’ main game against Bosnia (81-68) on Tuesday. The third longest playing time behind Yvan Fournier and Thomas Hurtl. “Seeing him scratching minutes in the coach’s eyes is something we couldn’t imagine, Le Mans sporting director Vincent Loriott has been excited about the club where Terry Tarby III plays since 2017. I feel grateful. Finally, French and continental basketball has come to realize the added value of this player.”

How did this player, unknown to the general public, despite his 12 selections before the start of the Euro, become indispensable? In a group in reconstruction in the absence of its CEOs Nicolas Batum and Nando de Colo, Manceau is perfectly integrated. “To build a new team, it is very important that everyone finds their turn. Terry (Tarby III) He is one of those who have found their place.”Vincent Colette salutes. “He has a lot of heart, he plays with the team, he gives everything he has”Evan Fournier abounds.

“If we want to succeed, we have to understand that he is the perfect example of how to act. We need men like him.”

Yvan Fournier, captain of the French national team

at a press conference

“He surprises me because, if his defensive performance lives up to expectations, he is also very effective in attack through simple play, with success in open shots he does not refuse.”, analyzes Christophe Denis, former coach of Paris Levallois. Since the start of the competition, the Habs have averaged 5.4 points (56% from three-pointers), three rebounds, and 1.8 assists on average. With 2.2 interceptions per match, he is even the best ball scraper in the Euro.

His defensive qualities and dedication to teamwork are nothing new to Terry Tarby III. He was discovered by Vincent Laureau with his own eyes in Nanterre, in June 2016, during a friendly match with France A-team. During the match, Number 0 took off his finger by throwing himself at a ball that was spinning out of the court. “he is He asks the doctor to put his finger back in place, then immediately returns to the fight. We fell in love instantlysays Sarthua’s sports director. It is very rare to have a player who does not count his efforts for the risk of injury.”

His career changed precisely thanks to this campaign with the France A team, which he preferred to join at the expense of a summer camp with the Boston Celtics NBA franchise. Born in Poissy during the career of his father (Terry Tarpey Sr), the international tricolor (first pick in November 2021) returned to the United States at the age of three. On the other side of the Atlantic, he will maintain very strong ties with France, from which he derives the nationality of his paternal great-grandfather, who is originally from Areej.

France's Thierry Tarbey III against Lithuania, during day two of the European group stage, in Cologne (Germany), September 3, 2022. (Hervé Bellenger/is/FFBB)

After four years at the University of William and Mary Tribe, in Virginia County (US), the basketball player joined the France A team without speaking a word in Molière’s language. “He asked us not to speak to him in English, Recalls Christophe Denis, assistant coach during the three campaigns of the French reserve team. To make things easier, I translated the instructions to him, but when we left the field, he wanted us to speak to him only in French. This desire to integrate was a sign of me.”

Terry Tarpey, the third in the name, following Denain (Nord), has signed for Pro B. It is a club known for developing young players with high potential. Before joining Le Mans Sarthe Basket, in 2017, to imitate his father Thierry Tarbe Sr., the club’s player from 1994 to 1997. “Following in his father’s footsteps was a dream for him”trusts Vincent Loriott, who paints a picture of A “The perfect son-in-law, A real nice guy in a world corrupted by money.”.

Terry Tarpey III especially tempts everyone on Earth. Year after year, his stats are pretty much the same as the level goes up. “The mark of great people is to be able to do very well what they have always been able to doChristophe Dennis confirms. No matter the adversity, he can always reproduce it.”

Still under contract until 2024 with Le Mans, No. 2 is no longer well known on the continental scene. “We will not lie to each other, we are aware of the growing interest in him”admits MSB’s athletic director, Vincent Loriott, whose phone has been ringing a lot for ten days. He will not stay long at Le Mans, Christophe Dennis thinks. It was a success and I think a lot of Euroleague teams are talking about it now.”

For him, the gaze turns to the ultimate goal of his journey through the courts: “Since the beginning of my career my goal has been 2024: to be in the French team for the Olympic Games in Paris”He told AFP. In light of his European basket, this is no longer a utopia.

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