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14 Jaylen Hoard (FRA)
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France's Hoard has basketball family when he needs it

ZARAGOZA (2016 FIBA U17 World Championship) - Jaylen Hoard grew up in a basketball family so it’s no surprise that the France small forward has excelled. Hoard’s all-around talent shined in his team’s first game at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship with a record-tying performance. 

Hoard poured in 41 points on 15-of-28 shots to go with eight rebounds and two steals. The point total knotted the U17 Worlds record which was set at FIBA U17 Worlds in 2014 by Australian Isaac Humphries

"I’m pretty happy about that,” Hoard said about evening the mark, which came in a 90-84 overtime loss against Korea in France’s Group D opener.

I was kind of in the whole basketball environment. Picking up the sport was pretty easy. From then, my love for basketball just grew. We talk a lot about basketball. It’s a passion we share. - Hoard

“In the first quarter it was kind of hard. I couldn't finish at the rim like it wanted to. In the second quarter and the second half my teammates fed me well and I was able to knock down some shots. I was trying to lead my team to the win but it came up short."

France have two more games in Group D, taking on Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday 25 June before finishing the group with a match-up against Dominican Republic on Sunday 26 June. 

“It was a tough loss. We were trying to get this win to position ourselves well for the rest of the games. But they knocked down a lot of shots and made some big plays at the end of the game,” Hoard said.

France’s chances of going deep into the tournament in Zaragoza will depend greatly on the Le Havre native Hoard. And Hoard, who has been playing basketball since he was 4 years old, has a deep wealth of knowledge within his family to call upon if he needs it. 

In addition to his American father Antwon Hoard playing the French ProA and ProB leagues up until 2010, Jaylen’s mother, Katia Foucade, played for France at the 1994 FIBA World Championship for Women before leaving the game early. 

And Hoard’s god mother is Edwige Lawson-Wade, who claimed silver at the 2012 Olympics for France and also was European champion in 2001.

Jaylen Hoard of France has a special connection to Edwige Lawson-Wade.

“I was kind of in the whole basketball environment. Picking up the sport was pretty easy. From then, my love for basketball just grew,” said Hoard, the second-oldest of five children. “We talk a lot about basketball. It’s a passion we share.”

Hoard’s parents will be coming to Zaragoza later in the week to watch him play. 

When asked how they helped in the game, Hoard answered: “Just their experience and their knowledge of the game.”

Both parents went to college in the United States with his mother attending the reputable INSEP academy in France before playing at the University of Washington. 

Hoard himself played a season at INSEP and will play this up-coming season at a high school in the United States. 

But before that is the U17 Worlds in Zaragoza. 

“The key for us will be to play as a team and not back down from bigger nations,” Hoard said. 

Despite the loss against Korea, Hoard believes there is a lot of talent on the team.

“I think we’re a top level team. We have a lot of players and we can compete for a medal. There are other players who people might not know, but they’re pretty good too. We have new players added to the group too, and we’ll be pretty good.”

Hoard also mentioned that the French would like to get a shot at the hosts Spain, who beat them last summer in the FIBA U16 European Championship Quarter-Finals. 

“It’s on our mind. A lot of guys really want to get back at them because France and Spain have a rivalry at every category. So we want to get back at them.”

Years of watching close family succeed would certainly help Hoard lead the French.