The coach of the Blues took stock on Wednesday, at the Paris headquarters of France Televisionsfollowing the announcement of the roster for the 2023 World Cup.
Vincent Collet has decided. The coach has unveiled the outlines of the selection that will play the 2023 Basketball World Cup in Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines from August 25 to September 15. A roster of 12 players, with five sparring partners. Obviously, Victor Wembanyama is not one of them. No Joël Embiid either. The Norman technician will however have a teamvery competitiveto try to do even better than in previous campaigns, with a podium in the last three competitions, and even the agent in 2021 and 2022. All with the idea of “combine the two adventures», That is to say the World Cup this year and the Paris Olympics in 2024. Coach Collet talks about his choices at a press conference.
The making of the list : “It was a difficult list to compose. Especially since it had to be recomposed at the last moment since we learned late about Victor (Wembanyama, who decided at the start of the week not to come this summer, Ed). Even without this package, it was difficult to compose. We have never had so many meetings with my istants as this year. Clearly, it was complicated. It’s also the fact of choosing the 12 that makes things more difficult. There are arbitrations that can be made after when you take 15 or 16 at the start. There, it was necessary to do them upstream… It is the difficulty of choosing to take the 12 but we also know the advantages that we get afterwards.»
We do not measure what Victor Wembanyama is going through at the moment.
The absence of Victor Wembanyama : “I was obviously a little surprised and disappointed, that’s obvious. Any coach wants to have his best players and he is already an important player. Afterwards, I am not unaware of the issues. We cannot measure what he is going through right now, as soon as he sets foot on American soil. It’s not just a first round of Draft, but a number 1, announced as a “game changer”. There are a lot of expectations, things around him, which, certainly, at the level of those around him, made him fear overheating. That’s how I took it. Afterwards, you have to know how to switch and project yourself with a team that I find really competitive and which can allow us to nurture real ambitions.» (…) He’s 19, don’t forget that. He’s a great player, but still a kid. He’s in a situation where he doesn’t totally belong.”
sparring partners : “Possible packages in the 12 will not necessarily be compensated by members of the list of training partners. A priori, no. They really are sparring partners. This is not what was originally planned. We would rather call on players who are not among the 12 but who are in a list of 24, the one you do not know but who must be transmitted to Fiba. (…) The training partners are not all in the list of 24. (…) We will keep them until the start in Asia (the friendly matches in Tokyo, editor’s note). Even in Asia, we will keep one or even two for the final preparation.»
An experienced group : “The youngest are Frank Ntilikina and Sylvain Francisco, 25 years old. It’s a rather experienced team and it’s a bias against the competition that awaits us. Of course, that wouldn’t have been the case if Victor had come. But in this case the choices were rather oriented in relation to that. We favored a little more experience compared to the previous competition.»
We have to be able to write our history.We hope it will be even more beautiful.
Favorite status : “To be one of the favorites is already a source of pride. We have the ambition to be part of it but we know our sport, there are many teams that can claim this status. The best team on paper didn’t make it past the round of 16 last year (Serbia, editor’s note)… We mustn’t lose sight of that. We made three podiums in a row (3rd at the 2019 World Cup, silver at the Olympics and the Euro, editor’s note), that’s very good but that’s the past. There are things that allowed us to do this and that we must reuse. The chance we have is that we have a lot of experience in this group, the core of the previous teams is there, in particular that of the Games, our best performance over the last four years. The main players are still there. We have to be able to write our history. She will be different. We hope it will be even more beautiful. It’s up to us to sc the margins to do something even bigger. It doesn’t need to be said more than that. It will be difficult. Our first opponent (Canada) can beat us. We know it. Knowing this is the best way to avoid it.»
Evan Fournier, who is coming out of a (very) complicated season with New York in the NBA : “He is already preparing, he would like the preparation to start now, he told me last week, he is pawing the way, but you will also have to know how to preserve him. He will have to train. The friendly matches will allow him to pick up the pace. There are positives and negatives. The fear of the lack of rhythm is justified but his teeth are already scratching the floor. In addition, he has always had a big desire, it will be increased tenfold. We have to wait to find out which side it will be. And we will adapt. We may make him do special things in case of lack of rhythm. If not, perhaps this rest will be beneficial. We have to wait to find out.»
We want to combine the two adventures.
The prospect of the 2024 Olympics : “Basketball is a team sport. Even if we have to add Victor (next year), there is a strong backbone of this year’s team that will be there in 2024. There may be some modifications, there will certainly be some, there always are. . But we are going to continue with the idea of using this competition to be a base for the 2024 team. We want to combine the two adventures. The return of Nando De Colo and Nicolas Batum goes in this direction too. We will use this year for next year, for sure, we will put in place a system of values that we have been carrying for a long time on which we will still insist with Paris in our sights.»
Who in captain : “We’ll see. This will be discussed in our first meetings with the players. It is not fixed for the moment. Knowing that the previous captain was not in the team last year, the cards can be redistributed (Forfeit for Euro 2022, Nicolas Batum saw Evan Fournier succeed him in this role, Ed).»
The lessons of the Euro : “We have to be different, but the team is. If I have to give one or two elements, it is not possible to lose 18 or 19 balls per match, as was often the case at the Euro. It did not correspond to the France team in previous campaigns. We had a real deficit in this area. We definitely need to fix it. It is already an element.»
Statements taken at a press conference