29 Jun
    7 Jul 2024

    Soliman the latest elite France talent ready to shine at U17 World Cup

    PARIS (France) - France have developed so much talent over the years and much of it has shined at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup. The next France future star might be Nathan Soliman in the 2024 event.

    PARIS (France) - France have developed a seemingly never-ending supply of elite talent, who have helped the country grab podium finishes at the last two FIBA U17 Basketball World Cups.

    This summer's global spectacle will once again feature some great young French players - with Nathan Soliman being perhaps the most anticipated of them all.

    Theo Maledon, Killian Hayes and Malcolm Cazalon carried France to second place at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup and the 2022 edition of France - who took third place - were highlighted by Alexandre Sarr, Zaccharie Risacher, Pacome Dadiet and Illan Pietrus.

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    France will head to the 2024 event in Istanbul this summer once again as podium contenders. And the world can hardly wait to see what Soliman is able to do on the big stage. 


    "We'll clearly be out to win. To achieve this we need discipline, rigor and strong defense. We’ve always been good at attacking so defense is important," the French talent said.

    Soliman only turned 15 on May 14. But he has wowed basketball observers the past year. Last summer he averaged 8.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game at the FIBA U16 EuroBasket 2023 even though he turned only 14 just three months earlier.

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    His top highlight was collecting 15 points, 6 rebounds and 3 steals against North Macedonia and he also picked up 5 points and 10 rebounds against Lithuania in the Third Place Game.

    This season Soliman has been playing in the both the U18 and NM1 teams of the famed French academy INSEP. He is averaging 16.7 points per game for the U18 team, which reached the Quarter-Finals of the playoffs. And the 2.03 meter forward has not looked out of place in the French third division, where he is tallying 7.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per contest.

     

    "The most beneficial things of being with INSEP are seriousness and hard work, recovery and that you don't go far alone," said Soliman, who poured in 18 points against Berck in late March.

    This is Soliman's second season at INSEP even though he wouldn't even be in the sports complex in Paris at his age. INSEP made an exception for Soliman, allowing him to enter the program at just 13 years old in 2022 - two years earlier than usual.

    "(Being so young) doesn't mean anything to me. I'm just ahead of my generation. That's all it means to me,"said Soliman, who moved with his family to Paris from Reze near Nantes to join the academy.  "I decided to join INSEP because it was the quickest way to be the best."

    France preliminary roster for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2024

    Yannis Allard Raphael Alyko Adam Atamna Jonas Boulefaa
    Soren Bracq Christopher Ebunangombe Hugo Facorat Meissa Faye
    Theo Guedegbe Cameron Houindo Noa Kouakou-Heugue Maxence Lemoine
    Kyllian Michee Ilian Moungalla Akram Naji Elie Ntowoa
    Nathan Soliman Jahel Trefle Gabriel Veras Hugo Yimga-Moukouri


    Soliman's next step is the FIBA U17 World Cup - his first appearance on the global stage.

    "It's just a challenge. I want to win and prove that I'm the best (player born in) 2009 in the world," said Soliman, who is young enough to play in the U17 World Cup again in 2026.

    Soliman hopes to go one step higher than France did in 2018

    Soliman has basketball in his blood. His father Williams Soliman helped Roanne win the French league crown in 2007. He also played at the FIBA EuroBasket 2009 and is still playing this season, for NM3 fifth division side Juvisy at age 44. And Nathan's mother Severine played up to the women’s Nationale 2 second division.

    "My father instilled in me the values that will enable me to succeed such as hard work, respect and punctuality," he said. "The same goes for my mother who has always been there for me."

    Soliman has already shown he is one of the best in Europe, and in Istanbul, he and France will get a major test in the first game. They will face off with six-time undefeated reigning champions United States in the first game in Group B.

    "I am super excited. I want to measure myself against them and see what they're capable of doing," he said of facing the Americans.

    That will also be a chance to show that Nathan Soliman is next in line in a long list of great French talents.

    FIBA

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