Tumbling full ball on the international scene during the under-19 world championship Last summer, with a very nice silver medal at the end of the day, Victor Wembanyama (2m20, 18 years old) has had a rather frustrating first season so far for his official arrival at the highest European level.
He moved from his Nanterre training club to the next level with Asvel During preseason, the tricolor interior was held back by injuries, and simply because of the difference in levels at the start of the season.
But for a few weeks he has found his rhythm and has even begun to show the tip of his nose in the French championship, with a very good game in Dijon (in an 82-75 loss) two weeks ago: 14 points, 8 rebounds and 5 blocks (19 PIR).
And last night, Victor Wembanyama confirmed his current form with the best European copy of his career, for his 11th Euroleague game, with 14 points (for a very good 6/7 shooting, none of them from 3-point range), 5 rebounds , 5 blocks, 2 assists and 2 steals for a PIR of 23 in 28 minutes of play in Villeurbanne’s beautiful victory on Baltic lands, in Kaunas.
“I know this is just the beginning. I am very confident. I am aware that this season has not been perfect, there are many things that we could not control, both collectively and individually, but I know that it is the natural cycle of things. It will get better as you go. »
A season finale to finally let go
Calm at last in terms of physical failures, Victor Wembanyama was able to chain a fourth consecutive game at 20 minutes or more in the EuroLeague, enough to find his cruising speed. Facing Joffrey Lauvergne or Tyler Cavanaugh in the Lithuanian box last night, he made his incredible deterrent potential speak for himself with no less than 5 blocks and several attempts weighed down considerably by his immense size.
“He is a child who already listens. He wants to progress.” he appreciates his trainer, TJ Parker. “It’s not easy for him given that he has this kind of body. He needs to get bigger, and he works very hard every day for that. He deserves his playing time and if he continues to listen as he does, he will play more and more. He is also someone I trust to finish games, he is important to us. »
Having tended to push too hard behind the 3-point line during this difficult transition season, Victor Wembanyama has refocused on the inside game. He clearly paid off last night, with this very promising left-footed basket for the future, having outpowered Tyler Cavanaugh (2m06, 108kg) and a small handful of easy dunks well served below the circle.
Expected very, very high in the 2023 Draft, Victor Wembanyama can take advantage of this end of the season to gain experience and gain confidence by playing on both sides, European and domestic.
« [La NBA] He still has a lot of time left, he has a year and a half ahead of him”. concludes TJ Parker. “For both of us, the most important thing is that he stays healthy. She had physical difficulties at the beginning of the season, she couldn’t find her rhythm, she couldn’t train. There you can do it for a month or two and that’s how it improves. Last season, he played at Espoirs and a bit professionally with Nanterre: it’s not easy to adapt directly to the EuroLeague level, but he wanted to accept the challenge. Tonight, he showed that he could play at the highest level at his age. »
Photo Credit: EuroLeague