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11/03/2015
News

All systems go for France's Batum

5 Nicolas BATUM (France)
Nicolas Batum (FRA). France vs Serbia, 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Madrid (Spain), 1/2 Final , 12 September 2014

PORTLAND (FIBA Basketball World Cup/EuroBasket 2015) - Nicolas Batum has looked a little tired at times this season in the Portland Trail Blazers uniform.

But when it comes to France, there has never been any genuine concern that he may skip this summer with the national team.

Not only is EuroBasket 2015 going to be staged in his own country, but the tournament will serve as a qualifying event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

So when he admitted to having some fatigue this season, there were some in Portland who figured he may choose to rest this summer instead of rejoining his Les Bleus teammates but Batum has firmly declared that will not be the case.

I have to fight for my country - Batum

France is a country that is loaded with quality.

Some might say it has an embarrassment of riches in playing personnel.

But when it comes to Batum, a high-flying forward who had been in the national squad every year since 2008, there is no uncertainty.

If he wants to play, he'll be on the roster.

Not only did he help France qualify and then play at the 2012 Olympics, Batum was a star in the team that captured the EuroBasket 2013 title - a first championship in that tournament for his country.

Last summer, Batum was spectacular at the FIBA Basketball World Cup as France reached the podium.

He had one of his best games in France's Semi-Final defeat to Serbia, burying eight three-pointers and pouring in 35 points overall.

Then in the battle for third place against Lithuania, the 2.03m forward had 27 points.

Batum's coach in Portland, Terry Stotts, was asked about Batum and France.

"I think playing for your country is an honor and I think it should be an individual choice," Stotts said to the Oregonian.

"But there also is an understanding that you need to perform for your career as well.

"It's a balance. Hopefully it serves both interests."

Batum will again be a crucial factor for a France team this year when they play at the EuroBasket in Montpellier and Lille and try to capture the crown on home soil.

FIBA