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Who is the NBA’s newest superstar, Victor Wembanyama?

Victor Wembanyama is one of basketball's hottest prospects
Victor Wembanyama is one of basketball’s hottest prospects

Victor Wembanyama Mets 92” by Thomas S is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

San Antonio Spurs have secured the services of Victor Wembanyama after the first round of the NBA Draft, but who is the much-lauded youngster and where’s he come from?

Standing at an incredible 7ft and 5 inches tall, the Frenchman was seen as the brightest prospect of this year’s Draft and it’s no surprise that the Spurs used their first pick to land him.

“This is accomplishing something that I have been dreaming of my whole life,” Wembanyama said after his pick was announced. “Hearing that sentence from [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver, I’ve dreamed of it so much that I have to cry, man.”

“We’re thrilled that we were able to bring Victor on board,” said his new coach, Gregg Popovich. “He’s obviously a heck of a talent, a very mature young man. But just like with every draft pick, whether it’s the first pick or the 27th pick, or the 38th pick, we have a responsibility to each and every one to try to create an environment where they can reach the best success possible for them.

“We’re going to get him on the court and we’re going to see him play, and we’ll go from there.”

Who is Victor Wembanyama?

Just 19 years old, Wembanyama was the hottest prospect going into this year’s Draft having impressed this season at the French team, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92.

He’s played in France since his career started in 2019, with Nanterre 92, where he stayed until 2021. One-year stints at ASVEL and Metropolitans have followed.

Coming from a highly athletic family, it always seemed likely he’d make a name for himself in sport. Wembanyama’s mother Elodie de Fautereau played and coached in basketball, his sister currently plays and his brother has also been involved in the sport. Only his father hasn’t played basketball though he was still highly athletic, competing in long jump, high jump and triple jump.

Such pedigree gives Wembanyama a strong awareness of his own ability and he doesn’t back down from achieving what he wants. In 2018, he was loaned to Barcelona’s basketball team to compete in an under-14 tournament, the Minicopa del Rey. He impressed and helped his team finish third, but he rejected the opportunity to move to the Spanish club permanently, believing they couldn’t challenge him sufficiently.

Wembanyama won the Pro A silver medal in France last season, as Metropolitans made it through to the play-off final, only to lose 3-0 to Monaco. He was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, its Best Scorer and its Best Defender.  

What is the NBA Draft?

Taking place during the postseason, the NBA Draft represents an opportunity for teams to improve their rosters ahead of the next campaign by signing up the best and brightest from the college, youth and international basketball scene. Similar events take place across the NFL, MLB and NHL.

It is comprised of two separate rounds, each one consisting of 30 picks – one pick per team – so by the end of the event, each team can add two new players to their squad.

The worst-performing team from the previous season has the first pick so they’ve got the best opportunity to improve their team and the incoming talent has the best opportunity to make a major impact during their first season.   

The Draft is a major event in American sport and is televised around the country. This year’s event took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and consisted of 58 picks, rather than the usual 60, as the Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers lost their second-round picks for violating NBA tampering rules.

Written and distributed by Chat T Sports.

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