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Zaccharie Risacher, the French basketball player who follows in the footsteps of Victor Wembanyama

Like Victor Wembanyama in 2023, the young basketball player from Bourg-en-Bresse Zaccharie Risacher could be selected in first position in the next NBA draft at the end of June. This 2.07m player has just won his first selection for the French team at the age of 18.

Published on: 02/26/2024 – 4:08 p.m.

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One year after the Wembanyama madness, another French basketball player could become number 1 in the NBA draft. Zaccharie Risacher is announced at the top of the selectable players in the latest forecast from the major American sports media ESPN. And even if he doesn’t turn heads in the basketball world like Victor Wembanyama did a year ago, this young player is the French revelation of the season in Betclic Élite, the French basketball championship. So much so that at the age of 18 he has just earned his first selection for the French team.

The coach of the Blues, Vincent Collet, has indeed invited Zaccharie Risacher for the two qualifying matches for EuroBasket 2025 against Croatia (73-61 victory Friday February 23 in Brest) and Bosnia-Herzegovina (February 26 in Tuzla ). Unfortunately, the 2.07m winger opened his lip after taking an elbow just 4 minutes after coming on and is out of the match in Bosnia. But his performances during the few days of the preparation camp did not leave the French coach indifferent.

“He’s a young man who has a lot of talent and we don’t stop at what he was able to do this evening,” he declared at a press conference after the match against the Croatians. “He really showed very good things throughout the training course. In all the training we were able to do here in Brest, he was really at the level and therefore very promising for the future. (…) He would have played more if he had not took this unfortunate blow as soon as he got home.”

During the course, Vincent Collet had also compared the precocity of Zaccharie Risacher to that of Victor Wembanyama. “Value does not wait for the number of years. When someone is really above it, like for Victor last year, you don’t have to wait,” he stressed at a press conference.

A profile cut out for the NBA

In fact, the trajectory of this new nugget of French basketball closely resembles that of the neo-star of the San Antonio Spurs. Both players came through the benches of ASVEL, one of the biggest French clubs. And both finally opted for a less posh club to gain playing time: Boulogne-Levallois for “Wemby” and Bourg-en-Bresse for Zaccharie Risacher.

Read alsoIn the NBA, Victor Wembanyama confirms expectations and impresses

A profitable choice which allowed him to go from 2.6 points and 1.3 rebounds in 12.9 minutes on average last season to 10.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 22 minutes this year. Performances which earned him the title of best young player in the championship in October and November, best player in the entire league in December and being selected for the All-Star Game, a gala match between the best French players from Betclic Élite. to the best foreigners.

Very skillful at three points for a player of this size – he is the best player in the Eurocup (second European competition) in this exercise with 56.1% success – versatile and capable of defending equally well on small or big. His athletic profile and maturity are particularly appreciated by NBA team recruiters.

“The NBA knows Bourg-en-Bresse well now. There are a lot of scouts [observateurs des clubs en charge de conseiller les recruteurs, NDLR] who come to see Zaccharie play. There are sometimes five or six of them at the same time. They ask a lot of questions. And I see that it doesn’t change anything in his attitude, it’s quite astonishing”, judged his trainer, Frédéric Fauthoux, on the platform Skweekwhich broadcasts the French championship.

Son of former international Stéphane Risacher

It must be said that Zaccharie Risacher grew up with a basketball in her hands – just like her sister, Aïnhoa, who was already playing professionally in the Women’s League (LFB) at the age of 16. Last summer, she was named best player at the European Under-16 Championship, which she won with France. His father, Stéphane Risacher, is a former French international (123 caps), French champion with PSG Racing in 1997 and Olympic vice-champion with the Blues in 2000 in Sydney. He was therefore logically his first coach and closely follows his development, regularly giving him his opinion on the progress he still needs to make and on his career choices.

“My father has a special place in my life and in my career, he advises me a lot. Afterwards, as I often say, basketball has always been part of my life. So we talk about it in a fairly relaxed way. There is important times like career choices, but every day, it’s very relaxed,” Zaccharie Risacher told the site franceinfo in December.

His injury suffered with the Blues against Croatia should not prevent him from resuming his season normally with Bourg-en-Bresse, currently third in Betclic Elite and also directly qualified for the quarter-finals of the Eurocup after finishing first phase at the top of his group.

And as for Victor Wembanyama, NBA fans around the world will be able to follow the end of Zaccharie Risacher’s season on the application of the famous American league. After purchasing the rights to broadcast Boulogne-Levallois matches last year, NBA boss Adam Silver signed a new partnership with the LNB in ​​January to broadcast one match per week of the French championship on his application . Proof of the enthusiasm around the gem of Bourg-en-Bresse: meetings of the Bressan club represent so far 50% of broadcasts.

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