Watch it now: Wembanyama shines in his first game for France
MUNICH (Germany) - Victor Wembanyama made his national team debut, and it was an impressive one at that. The 18-year-old collected 20 points in less than 24 minutes of work, powering France to a blowout win on the road against Lithuania in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 European Qualifiers.
The center, listed at 219cm (7ft 2in), was a starter for coach Vincent Collet, who showed the wunderkind he's got all the trust in the world by giving him the ball on nearly all of France's possession within the first five minutes of the game.
A big putback dunk; tip-in with his left taking off nearly at the free throw line; an alley-oop dunk - Wembanyama put on a show from the get-go, and by the time he was done, France celebrated a 90-65 win in Panevezys.
"I'm really proud of what we did tonight. We were consistent throughout the game. Our biggest achievement tonight was that we never let them come back and we always had the game in our hands," said Wembanyama in the post-game press conference.
"I was not nervous at all, just excited in the best way possible. I was really hungry to get that win tonight. All of us had a lot of fun out there."
Collet added: "Victor handled the game very well. He didn't try to show anything special, he was just himself and that's enough to dominate the game. The most important thing was the win and he has time to show more - he will do it very soon."
Victor spent 23:29 on the court, scored 20 points on 6-of-13 shooting, 1-of-2 from deep, 7-of-7 from the charity stripe. He also had 9 rebounds, four of those being offensive, with an assist and a steal on the boxscore too, for good measure.
France were a +25 team with him on the floor, a team-high in the clash of European powerhouses, as they inched closer to FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 berth. France and Lithuania are tied at 7-2 at the top of Group K.