22 November, 2021
28 February, 2023
FIBA Exclusive: Q&A with Victor Wembanyama
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FIBA Exclusive: Q&A with Victor Wembanyama

PARIS (France) - Victor Wembanyama has been the talk of the basketball world and is currently preparing for a senior debut with the French national team in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers.

A projected number 1 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the rising star from Le Chesnay has been turning heads with his performances for club side Metropolitans 92 with a unique skillset earning growing admiration.

Wembanyama can now help France qualify for next year's World Cup with the 18-year-old getting to showcase his talent at senior international level for the first time.



The rising phenom talked exclusively to FIBA.basketball in a wide-ranging interview to discuss his ambitions with the national team ahead of what is sure to be the first of many international caps.

You just spent your first days with the senior national team, how are you feeling about it?

I feel very good, and very happy to be here with the guys and representing my country. I am also very happy that this happens that early in my career, as it has always been a very important goal of mine, and it's finally here. I enjoy every day, every practice and I am here to help and keep learning in order to help the national team and keep gaining experience. I am grateful of the opportunity, and I am ready to help 'Les Bleus' win both games and get closer to qualify for the next FIBA Basketball World Cup.

You played, and won, many medals at youth level, with France. How do you feel every time you wear the 'bleu' jersey on your shoulders?

Oh, it's unique, deep, very, very special. I can't deny that is a huge honor to represent my country, and the pride and motivation that I have to help the national team is very, very high. When you play for your country, you feel that you are in something special, something great, and I embrace and try to make the most of it every time I have played for the national team in my young career so far. I am very proud to be French, very proud to be part of that team, and very excited for the next days, weeks, months and years to come with Team France.

You also are probably in your best time of your young career so far…

Yes, that is true, but I don't take anything for granted and I know that I can, and I will, keep doing better and better. It feels very good to be in a great time, playing at a great level so far this season but I am here for the team, and to bring my strengths and help my teammates win both of those games. Basketball is a team sport, and everyone has to bring a bit of his contribution for the team to win, and the group to keep improving. I am going to bring first my defensive presence, and be the best teammate I can be. I am not worried about what I can bring to the team, I just want to be helping and win, that is what every one of us wants, and that's the goal in this coming window. I want to win, and that feeling is the same for me every time I step on a basketball court.

What do you expect from your first game, Friday, away from home, in Lithuania?

I expect us to win and to play hard, starting with the defense. I am one guy of the team, and I am going to help the guys the best way I can. I know that a lot of spotlights are going to be on me, but I am used to it now, so I am ready for the challenge. It's going to be so exciting, I am really counting the days, and can’t wait to put the jersey on and get in the battle. We have been working hard since the beginning of the training camp, and we want to get two wins in that window. First we are going to play against the leaders of the group, where it's never easy to win, and after at home, against a team that is very solid. We want to get two wins


You work with coach Vincent Collet at Metropolitans, and also now with the French national team…

It's pretty easy to transition from one to another as we know each other very well (laughs). It's very good to be working with Coach Collet, and he is a coach that really knows how to help the guys get better, and is very committed to the national team. He won many medals and helped many guys get to the highest level, and I really enjoy working with him in my club and now in the national team. That helps make my adaptation to the team easier, but also I know also about the way he likes to work, so I am really happy to be working with him in Boulogne-Levallois and also with 'Les Bleus'.

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Times are very exciting for you in many levels, but is playing in the FIBA Basketball World Cup a goal for you next year?

I still have many months to play with my team, but I would like to play and win titles and medals for the national team, that is for sure. The World Cup, the Olympics, EuroBasket, I want them all, and I want to help France keep writing fantastic pages on its basketball's history. I hope to have a very long career with the blue jersey on my shoulders, and make people proud and happy to see that France is one of the most competitive teams of the world. Times are very exciting, that is for sure, and we all want to take part of those very good coming years and the tournaments that are coming in the next coming years.

FIBA Basketball Cup in 2023, Paris Olympics in 2024, and EuroBasket in 2025…those are many opportunities to fill up the cabinet with trophies and medals!

Yes! Absolutely, the coming years are full of great tournaments and we all think about it, that is for sure. We have to take it one step at a time, and we keep the same ambition the same motivation to keep France between the best teams of the world, and to bring medals and title back home. The next years are so exciting and I am up, ready for all the challenges that will be coming up.