Victor Wembanyama (born 4 January 2004) is a French professional basketball player for Metropolitans 92 of the LNB Pro A. Standing at 2 m as a power forward, he is widely projected to be the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA draft.
Early life and youth career
Wembanyama was born in 2004 in Le Chesnay, France. His father, Felix Wembanyama, is of DR Congolese descent and is a former long jumper. +more His mother, Elodie de Fautereau, played women's basketball. His older sister, Eve, plays basketball professionally and won a gold medal with France at the 2017 FIBA U16 Women's European Championship in France. Wembanyama's father and mother are and tall, respectively.
Wembanyama grew up playing football as a goalkeeper and practicing judo. Since he was four or five years old, Wembanyama was coached in basketball by his mother, who had played the sport. +more He began his career at his local club, Entente Le Chesnay Versailles, and joined the youth system of Nanterre 92 at age ten. His parents refused offers from bigger clubs like FC Barcelona and ASVEL. In February 2018, Wembanyama was loaned to FC Barcelona for the Minicopa del Rey, an under-14 tournament in Spain, leading his team to third place. He recorded 16 points and 15 rebounds in the third-place game.
In the 2019-20 season, Wembanyama began playing for Espoirs Nanterre in the LNB Espoirs, the French under-21 league. In February 2020, he played for Nanterre's under-18 team at the Kaunas Tournament, a qualifier for the Adidas Next Generation Tournament (ANGT). +more On 8 February, Wembanyama posted 22 points, 15 rebounds and an ANGT-record nine blocks in a win over the under-18 team of Zaragoza. He averaged 15. 8 points, 12 rebounds, 2. 8 steals, and six blocks per game, leading the tournament in blocks. He was named to the all-tournament team. Through 13 Espoirs games, he averaged 10. 2 points, 4. 8 rebounds, and 2. 8 blocks in 20. 1 minutes per game.
On 23 September, Wembanyama made his 2020-21 Espoirs season debut, recording 22 points, 18 rebounds, five blocks, and four assists in an 86-74 win over Espoirs JL Bourg. In the next month, he was assigned to Centre Fédéral, an amateur team affiliated with INSEP. +more Wembanyama made his Nationale Masculine 1 debut on 21 October, recording 22 points, 10 rebounds, and seven blocks in a 72-63 victory over STB Le Havre.
Nanterre 92 (2019-2021)
On 29 October 2019, Wembanyama made his professional debut for Nanterre 92, playing 31 seconds against Brescia in the EuroCup. At 15 years, nine months and 25 days old, he became the second-youngest player after Stefan Petković to play in the EuroCup. +more On 23 September 2020, Wembanyama made his LNB Pro A debut, grabbing one rebound in four minutes against JL Bourg. On 25 May 2021, he had season-highs of 14 points and 10 rebounds in a 99-87 win over Orléans Loiret.
Wembanyama was named Pro A Best Young Player of the 2020-21 season. He opted to leave Nanterre after the season, living there since the age of 10.
On 29 June 2021, Wembanyama signed a three-year contract with ASVEL of the Pro A and the EuroLeague. On 1 October, he made his EuroLeague debut, playing three minutes in a home game against Žalgiris. +more On 3 April, Wembanyama scored a career-high 25 points on 13-19 shooting in a 85-65 home win over Le Portel.
On 18 May 2022, Wembanyama won a second consecutive LNB Pro A Best Young Player award. On 3 June, he suffered a muscle injury which forced him to miss the remainder of the Pro A playoffs. +more Wembanyama opted out of his contract with ASVEL after the season ended.
Metropolitans 92 (2022-present)
On 30 June 2022, Wembanyama signed a two-year contract with Metropolitans 92 of the Pro A. On 4 October 2022, Wembanyama put up 37 points on 7-of-11 shooting from three, alongside four rebounds and five blocks in a 122-115 loss to the NBA G League Ignite in an exhibition game. +more In a second encounter with the team two days later, he scored 36 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 112-106 win. His performance on United States soil gained him attention in American media, with sportswriters and NBA players praising Wembanyama's game and potential.
National team career
Junior national team
Wembanyama represented France at the 2019 FIBA U16 European Championship in Udine, Italy. In an 80-78 quarterfinal win over Croatia, he recorded 12 points, 21 rebounds and eight blocks. +more Wembanyama averaged nine points, 9. 6 rebounds and a tournament-leading 5. 3 blocks per game, leading France to a silver medal and earning all-tournament team honors. He competed at the 2021 FIBA Under-19 Basketball World Cup in Latvia. Wembanyama averaged 14 points, 7. 4 rebounds and 5. 7 blocks per game, and was named to the all-tournament team after leading France to the silver medal. He recorded 22 points, eight rebounds and eight blocks in an 83-81 loss to the United States in the final. Wembanyama set the FIBA record for blocks per game in a single tournament.
Senior national team
Wembanyama was on the preliminary 17-man roster of the France national team for EuroBasket 2022, but was ruled out a month ahead due to an injury. He was selected again for the World Cup qualifiers in November and is expected to make his senior team debut.
Standing at bare-feet and a wing span, Wembanyama has received attention for his athleticism and fluidity of his game. In October 2022, LeBron James called him an "alien", citing "Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, well he’s more like an alien,” LeBron said after the Lakers’ preseason loss to the Suns in Las Vegas. +more “I’ve never seen, no one’s ever seen anyone as tall as he is, but it’s fluid and as graceful as on the floor… ". NBA sportswriter Adrian Wojnarowski described Wembanyama as "the singular greatest prospect in NBA history. ".
On offense, Wembanyama is a good shooter and three-point shooter and is a good shot creator with excellent ball handling skills. Defensively, he is known for his shot blocking instincts. +more His thin frame and weight have been labeled as weaknesses.
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