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Older, wiser Seraphin targets France national team return
INDIANAPOLIS (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Indiana Pacers big man Kevin Seraphin hasn't played for France's national team since the 2012 Olympics but he's not a forgotten man in his homeland.
National team coach Vincent Collet recently said the door is still open for the 27-year-old and the player himself has told FIBA.com he wants to return.
Is playing for France again a goal for you?
Yes I would like to play for the national team. Les Bleus are very important and it would be nice to wear the national team jersey again. I haven't spoken to the Federation yet but it is something that I am going to do at some point. It's a goal for my future.
The next big tournament is FIBA EuroBasket 2017.
We are still several months away from the competition and it's a step-by-step process but I would like to play for the national team this summer. But right now, I am focused on my NBA season and doing my best for the Indiana Pacers.
France linchpins Tony Parker, Mickael Gelabale and Florent Pietrus retired after last summer's Olympics. Did they have much of an impact on your career?
Guys like Tony Parker, Florent Pietrus and Mickael Gelabale were important for the improvement of the national team for more than a decade. They are part of the history of the national team and were great competitors. I learned a lot from Tony, both on and off the court. He is a true inspiration for any athlete. Despite being a veteran, he always has the same passion for the game and has remained as competitive as if he was still 18 years old. He is an example for the youth and one of the best athletes of France's history.
Now that they are gone, how do you see the immediate future of France?
I think the future is bright. Some people think that as some veterans like Tony, Florent and Mike have retired, the team will be less competitive, but I think that they are wrong. We have a lot of talented guys and some very good young guns who are going to help France stay at the highest level. France has a huge basketball tradition and we always have some young guys that are knocking on the national team door. France's youth teams are very good. Look at what the U18s did in December, winning the European Championship. It shows that France has a lot of potential and tons of talented guys playing basketball.
What is it like being an Indiana Pacer and a teammate of USA superstar Paul George?
The Pacers are an historical franchise in the NBA. It's so nice to be playing in front of amazing fans and in a state where basketball is in their DNA. Paul is an incredible competitor and leader. I am always amazed by how good of a shooter he is. He can score from anywhere, like very few other guys in the league. When you have a guy like him on the team, you follow his leadership.
.@kevin_seraphin with the SLAM. pic.twitter.com/TcNitlKUBX— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 1, 2017
What do you make of Indiana coach Nate McMillan using you at power forward instead of center?
I had to learn all the systems and tactics about playing at the power forward position in the last couple of weeks, but I played last year during some games with the Knicks at this position. It's a bit different than playing center, as you have to defend guys that can stretch the floor and are usually faster than the traditional big men, but I really like it. I worked hard last summer to improve my game and part of my summer workout was about learning more about playing at the power forward position. I feel comfortable and it’s always a strength to be versatile.