31 August, 2017
17 September
2 Frank Bryan Ntilikina (FRA)
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Collet hails 'basketball IQ' of France's U18 MVP Ntilikina

STRASBOURG (FIBA EuroBasket 2017/Basketball Champions League) - Frank Ntilikina is the man of the moment in French basketball.

Or maybe better put, the teen of the moment. As hot an NBA prospect as there is on the old continent, the SIG Strasbourg point guard underlined his immense potential at the FIBA U18 European Championship played in Turkey last month.

Blessed 🙏🏾✌🏾🏅🏆

A photo posted by Frank Ntilikina (@frank_ntilikina) on

The 1.96m playmaker averaged 15.2 points per game and drilled 17 of 29 (58.6 percent) shots from long range. He was outstanding in the Final, a 75-68 triumph over Lithuania, in which he poured in 31 points.

Ntilikina is already a professional, too, playing for France national team coach Vincent Collet at Strasbourg in the French top flight and the Basketball Champions League.

If it's too early to know if Ntilikina will be named to France's preliminary squad for FIBA EuroBasket 2017, there is little doubt that he's got a big future with the national team. He's certainly a good bet to be with Les Bleus if, as expected, they qualify for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 in China.

Collet spoke about Ntilikina to FIBA.com during the holidays while on a visit to the United States to see France's NBA players.

What can you tell us about this highly-rated prospect that we've been hearing so much about lately?
My point guard in Strasbourg, Ntilikina, should be drafted in 2017 quite high if I read well in Draft Express. He just won the U18 European Championship and he was MVP. He scored 31 points in the Final, made 7 of 10 three-pointers.

What makes him special?
Basketball IQ. For such a young guy, he's already playing with the pros, making good decisions. Sometimes he's missing aggression but his basketball IQ is something really special. He looks to be 25 very often.

Would you compare him to Ricky Rubio in Beijing eight years ago when he played for Spain as a 17-year-old?
No, he's different. He doesn't have the same athleticism of Rubio or doesn't get the steals but he's a much better shooter - an even better shooter than Tony (Parker) was. But not the same quickness. He's still growing, almost 6ft 5in. I think he will be very long. He's different, but he will be good.

So if he's that good, will you be able to keep him in France or will he be going to the NBA?
No, I think he will go [to the NBA] very, very soon. But perhaps it would be good if they let him play one more year in a European league because he's still young. And I think he needs one more year before playing in the NBA.