16 - 24
July 2016
to read

France U20s adopt flexible approach

PARIS (FIBA U20 European Championship 2016) – France has trimmed its U20 preliminary team to 18 men and tailored the schedule of preparations to better accommodate players and their varied circumstances.

Following a first gathering at INSEP in Paris this week, long-serving U20 France head coach Jean-Aime Toupane announced that only 18 players on his initial 25-strong list will continue into training camp. Toupane consequently released Luc Loubaki, Stephane Gombauld, Ywen Smock, Jonathan Jeanne, Darel Poirier, Antoine Wallez and Elie Fedensieu.

U20 France preliminary squad
 Grégory Bengaber  Pierre Brun  Corentin Carne  Leopold Cavaliere
 Isaia Cordinier  Olivier Cortale  Jean-Philippe Dally  Lucas Dussoulier
 Cyrille Eliezer  Bradley Jomard  Alpha Kaba Felix Michel
 Assane Ndoye   Amine Noua  Frank Ntilikina  Elie Okobo 
 Etienne Ory  Carl Ponsar    

Toupane will conduct at least the initial week of preparations, which kicked off in Clermont on Thursday, with only two-thirds of these 18 players. That is not to say though that the six who are set to arrive later do not have strong chances of making the final roster that will travel to Helsinki for July's U20 tournament.

The youngest player on the U20 preliminary squad, 1998-born rising star Frank Ntilikina, together with 1997-born power forward Amine Noua, will join preparations after the end of the French Pro A league play-offs as they play for SIG Strasbourg and ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne respectively, and their teams clash in the title series.

Alpha Kaba, the 1996-born power forward who made an important contribution to the U20 French team already last year, as well as shooting guard Isaia Cordinier, have both declared for the NBA Draft and received permission to join training camp at a latter stage. Meanwhile forwards Leopold Cavaliere and Carl Ponsar will be at the disposal of coach Toupane once they complete rehabilitation for injuries they sustained earlier in the season.

The 12-strong group of players which Toupane already started putting through its paces on Thursday includes two returnees from last year's team which reached the semi-finals of the FIBA U20 European Championship in Italy, despite battling injury woes during the tournament. Lucas Dussoulier, a 2.03m tall guard who stands out for his shooting range averaged 3.7 points and 1.8 rebounds in the 2015 championship while Corentin Carne had 1.2 points and 1.1 boards per game.

France were drawn in Group B of the FIBA U20 European Championship in Helsinki, together with Spain, Israel and hosts Finland.