Three days before the resume Elite Betclicorganized by the National Basketball Association (LNB) traditional Media Day before the season. Not surprisingly, all eyes were on this phenomenon Victor WimpanyamaHe was crowned champion of France with Asvel last June, but has since left Boulogne Levallois.
Less than a year from the big jump and Project 2023The 18-year-old Frenchman will obviously be one of the main attractions of this new campaign. And even if he doesn’t want to risk under that deadline, don’t count on him for his accomplishments in the environment.” Fun and protective From Metropolitans 92…
” [J’aborde cette saison] with appetite ‘, he warns, at a press conference. I’m really looking forward to it, but I also want to enjoy this last year in France. I feel like I have a different situation, as it is now known that I will be leaving next year. But I’m staying focused and I know I’m getting better every year, so I’m going to make sure to keep that up. »
” What matters to me this season is to cement my position as number one in the draft »
In the viewfinder of Victor Wimpanyama: This mode is the first pick for the 2023 draft, which he promised for several months (not to mention several years) and which he does not intend to miss, of course.
” What matters to me this season is to cement the first place in the draft, my goal, rather than gain 15 kilograms or take a risk. The goal is to make sure to consolidate and move towards a calm situation, conducive to the NBA ”, delivers the former solid mass of Nanterre, which is already very comfortable in front of the media.
Then Victor Wimpanyama, when asked if this #1 spot was an end in itself, added: In mathematical terms, the most interesting thing is to get involved in an organization that cares about the project and the player. Of course it’s better [ne pas être N°1 de la Draft] If we had a better profession then. But I still have that part, no doubt in pride, of telling myself that no one is needed in front of me. I have to be above others. »
Vincent Colette, the perfect coach
In Boulogne Levallois, security selection “In his view, Victor Wimpanyama will be coached exclusively by Vincent Colette, who just won the silver medal at the European Basketball Championship, which he has already taken.” He had the opportunity to meet several times “.
” He is definitely the greatest French coach “He says about her.” I have 100% confidence in him, both at the basketball level and at the tactical level. He’s ambitious, respects my project and is someone with whom I feel like I’m having a calm and ambitious year before the draft. »
Vincent Colette who also decided to keep Victor Wimpanyama as his initial Euro pick, before a muscle injury forced him to review his plans.
” As in every competition, I seriously followed the results of the French national team ‘, says the Interior, in connection with his country’s European adventure. It was hard sometimes to watch it, because this team put us in such a state … There were miracles, it was very emotional. It was also frustrating, because I told myself I could have brought my stone into the building. But it’s a team I trust, especially for the future. I know there will be great performances, great medals and great titles with this team. »
” I feel comfortable in this group, in this new team. »
Now, on the sidelines of his third season with the Pros, Victor Wimpanyama by no means believes he feels 100% of his potential. Thanks, in particular, for the one-month stay in the US, near Dallas and SMU, where it is” better income in his words.
And to be convinced of this, just look at his two matches last week, in preparation, against regular players in the European Cups. 2 friendlies that ended in victory: 34 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks against Darusavaka, Thursdaythen 34 points, 5 rebounds and 4 blocks against Hapoel Holon, Saturday !
” It was my best performance in the pro “In this regard, the main interested party interacts.” I feel comfortable in this new team, and I feel like it will be fine. Especially since the coach [Vincent Collet] It comes back, so it will rise again… »
Don’t talk to him about age or stress…
With Boulogne-Levallois, Victor Wimpanyama is interested in settling quickly, because we remember the Metropolitan 92 will fly to Las Vegas in less than two weeks. The objective of this trip: to challenge the G-League Ignite of Scoot Henderson twice, the other phenomenon of the future junior team…
“ It’s exciting, it’s a bit like a mini final “, thinks of this duel between the top 2 of the 2023 draft.” It’s unheard of, especially for French basketball, but it’s quintessential: to innovate and create things that have never been seen before. It’s really exciting, but I treat him as a lead actor and not as a spectator. I want to do great things in this event. »
The least we can say is that on October 4 and 6, Victor Wimpanyama will be screened privately in Nevada, both on ESPN and in the room. Despite his young age, he doesn’t seem the type to be afraid of any pressure…
“ The way I do business [la pression et les attentes] It has nothing to do with my age, it has nothing to do with my personality and goals “He trusts, too.” You don’t need to work on this. […] Everything I do is for myself. Expectations of each other have nothing to do with the way I will conduct my career. It brings me no pressure. »
In the middle of the Mets project
Specifically, the management of Victor Wimpanyama’s career in the past weeks can be called into question, because many did not understand – and still do not understand – his choice to leave Asfel TJ (and Tony) Parker for Boulogne Levallois by Vincent Colette.
But for the 2m, 21-year-old prodigy (without shoes), who has an insane wingspan… 2m 44, it was the fact that there was a team (finally) built around him that prompted him to change the air. Furthermore, his recent preparatory matches must have confirmed his selection…
“ That’s what I was looking for yeah, I was sure I had it here ‘, he admits on this subject to being a citizen of Chesney (Evelyn).” Everything was prepared, over an intense and reduced period, to reproduce this kind of performance. In French basketball it is difficult to empower young people, simply because we often excel here. Me, I’ve never played in my age group, so empowering is the most complicated. It’s already my third year as a professional and it’s time to take charge. In my life, I have rarely had the opportunity to form a group around me. In France, we lack this empowerment of young people, unlike the United States. They are two different schools, but one is not necessarily better than the other. »
“ [Mes blessures] Do not worry me. »
On the other hand, Victor Wimpanyama is really pleased with two things. from direction, ” perfect size “One match a week for the French championship helps to develop it. On the other hand, he spent his last year with ASVEL (9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 1.8 versus average).
” I learned a lot about myself, my goals, and my needs to reach the highest level “, sums up the 2021/22 season.” There were ups and downs but in the end the results were very positive. I was a champion for France, it’s my first title, and my singles record is pretty great: I’m the best young player, with an average of 10 points. I’m very happy. »
In closing, Victor Wimpanyama also wanted to reassure even the most skeptical of his supposed physical fragility…
“ [Mes blessures] Don’t worry, I didn’t suffer a serious injury and that’s reassuring. Everyone knows that in the NBA, there is the best support. It’s light years [de la France]We know very well how to take care of the players “, finish.
Interview in Paris, 20 September 2022