This year again, France is excellently represented in the draft. From Ousmane Dieng to Ismael Kamagate via Hugo Besson, the patriots that we are will have plenty to do when turning on the television to hear from their foals. But in the shadow of the latter, others – with a less obvious rating across the Atlantic – are just waiting to emerge.
It is assumed, each year, the editorial staff of TrashTalk offers its readership a particular focus on French prospects. This tailor-made presentation belongs to the editorial line: we will not speak of a 25th choice from Queens, but then a 56th born in Loiret, there it is dissected. This summer, only four French people have left their names available to franchises. The regulations stipulated that from June 13, no prospect could withdraw from the selection process. It is therefore Ousmane Dieng, Ismael Kamagate, Hugo Besson and Moussa Diabate who will represent – at least, will try – France on Thursday evening. Without forgetting Yoan Makoundou, automatically eligible since he is currently in his 22nd year.
What, and the others, where did they go?
On April 28, the headline read: “Nine French people present themselves at the Draft 2022”. Water flowed under the bridges and for Malcolm Cazalon, Hugo Benitez, Tom Digbeu, Nicolas Vanel and Matthew Strazel, no risk was taken. All have decided to withdraw their name from the draft. For Tom Digbeu, Hugo Benitez and Malcolm Cazalon – then in their 21st year – hopes of one day grabbing Adam Silver on the stage at the Barclays Center fade with the seasons. The 2023 Draft will be their last chance to enter the NBA through the front door. It’s sad when you remember the incredible trio formed by Malcolm Cazalon with Killian Hayes and Théo Maledon in the young France teams. He only has one year left to explode with Sremska Mitrovica’s Mega Basket. Same story for Tom Digbeu, whose season with the Brisbane Bullets – Australian D1 – was not enough to give credibility to the candidacy. For Hugo Benitez, there is better on an individual level with JL Bourg, but unless there is a big gain in confidence / responsibilities under the orders of Frédéric Fauthoux, the 2023 Draft promises to be out of reach.
19-year old French point guard Matthew Strazel has withdrawn his name from the 2022 NBA Draft, his agent Olivier Mazet told ESPN. Strazel saw more Euroleague minutes than any international prospect this season alongside Victor Wembanyama at ASVEL. pic.twitter.com/gI1AWGpsza
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 13, 2022
As Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress, Matthew Strazel is the prospect with the longest playing time in the EuroLeague last season. A beautiful mark of confidence, which spreads a vapor of hope above the 19-year-old leader. He is only in his 20th year and should – with the departure of Elie Okobo for Monaco – be given more responsibility over the 2022-23 season. If he manages to assert himself as one of the fine pieces of EuroLeague on position 1, we widely believe in his selection in 2023. His offensive arsenal is already very qualified and a little continuity in the work at the room will do him the greatest good. Regarding the last of the five men who withdrew their name, Nicolas Vanel – not to be confused with the late holder of the philosopher’s stone – remains on a season with 12 points on average in the French Espoirs championship. But why the hell did he file his name? Too little information circulates on this subject. His rear profile cut at 1m93 is astonishing, and even if he is from the 2003 vintage – still three years of eligibility – other prospects in the Espoirs championship seem more intriguing. We think of Tidjane Salaun from Cholet Basket, born on August 10, 2005, announced at around 2m05, and who plays on the wing. Him, in a few years, hot in front.
Okay Nicholas Flamel. However, let’s be humble with this boy, still very young, and whose time to seriously present himself for the draft will come (perhaps).