San Antonio (United States) (AFP) – “Special”, or even “original”, the start of Victor Wembanyama’s adventure in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs at the end of October promises to be in his image, assured Monday the French giant with a unique talent, who knows he is eagerly awaited.
Published on: 03/10/2023 – 07:09Modified on: 03/10/2023 – 07:07
On the floor, he is closest to the black ceiling of the old Spurs training center, which he will leave on Tuesday to begin the final preparation camp with the Texan franchise in brand new facilities. A cluster of journalists follows the movements of the 19-year-old Frenchman, who slides with ease from a photo shoot to the small seats of a press conference, where he juggles between English and French.
“It’s always crazy, sometimes I realize that I’m in the NBA, that I play for the Spurs. It’s a little unreal, but it’s normal, it’s still fresh,” explained the prodigy, chosen in N.1 in the Draft in June by the Texan franchise, where his compatriot Tony Parker had shone before him.
“I’m going to discover these things that I saw on television. The stadiums, the atmospheres, all that is going to be precious. I’m going to experience incredible things. I know that I’m making memories forever.”
After an appearance during the Summer League in July, Wembanyama “completely rested” for a few weeks, before returning to training in San Antonio, where he is enjoying being in the middle of a particularly young group, between team dinners and bowling games.
“He has adapted brilliantly, praised his trainer Gregg Popovich, who extended his contract at Spurs at 74 to acquire the prodigy. He is very mature for his age. He is cerebral, he is very intelligent and he is a good guy. He had no problem arriving in gaining the respect of his teammates, understanding his environment and his new responsibilities.”
Victor Wembanyama during the media day in San Antonio, October 2, 2023 © TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
An immense player (2.24 m according to the NBA, 2.21 m according to him) with unique agility for his size, Wembanyama sweated in the weight room this summer and gained “between 4 and 7 kilos”, without distorting his figure. slender. “I don’t want to go too fast.”
“I’m in the best physical condition of my life. I’ve learned more about my body in three months than in the previous five years, thanks to numerous tests. This offseason is going to matter, and not just for this year.”
The NBA resumes on October 24, with a first game for the Spurs at home on the 25th against Dallas.
“I don’t know if I can talk about specific expectations, I want to learn to win as quickly as possible,” launched “Wemby”, while the Texan franchise has not played in the play-offs since 2019 and has not won only 22 games last season (60 defeats).
French Spurs prodigy Victor Wembanyama, during the media day in San Antonio, October 2, 2023 © TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
The former player of Nanterre, Asvel and the Metropolitans of Boulogne-Levallois knows he is expected by his opponents who will not fail to play “physical” to test him. “After what I experienced last year (in the French Championship, Editor’s note), nothing scares me anymore,” he said.
On the floor side, the Spurs have several young versatile players, including the Frenchman, whom his coach did not want to confirm in a particular position.
“I know that I can help this team, the best way is not to put myself in a box. He (Popovich) knows that. We know that we are going to do something original, special,” explains the child of Chesnay (Yvelines).
Victor Wembanyama takes part in a photo shoot in San Antonio, October 2, 2023 © TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
“I have played number 4 (power forward) all my life, that can continue without problem. I have a good understanding on the field with the pivot Zach Collins. When I play with a physical +5+ (pivot) in the racket works well.”
His teammates were full of praise for the new “freak”, as Jeremy Sochan calls him.
“Every game he’s going to do something crazy. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, the basket seems so low! You’re going to enjoy watching him this season,” promises Devin Vassell.
© 2023 AFP
#special #promises #Wembanyama #debut