The two Wembanyama-Gobert rounds launch the Olympic preparations of the Blues with a bang

Victor Wembanyama during a press conference at INSEP, in Vincennes, on June 27, 2024. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

South of Rouen, the Gustave-Flaubert bridge stretches over the Seine. Overlooking the building, two huge towers allow the deck to be raised well above the waters of Seine. But on Wednesday, July 3, a stone’s throw from the lifting bridge, two other towers attracted all eyes: Victor Wembanyama and Rudy Gobert, teamed up for the first time under the blue jersey of the French men’s basketball team.

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For several years, the French Basketball Federation (FFBB) has been keen to organise its summer meetings in France, in order to “show off the jersey” and connect its stars playing in the NBA – the North American professional league – to French territory. And it was not the Olympic summer at home that was going to change things. With the exception of a escapade in Cologne (Germany), the French men’s team will play all its preparation matches in the country, from Lyon to Montpellier, via Orléans and Rouen.

And it was in the Seine-Maritime prefecture that the Blues launched their pre-Paris 2024 campaign on Wednesday against Turkey. With a large victory (96-46), helped by their ” twin towers “the words of Vincent Collet. “There is inevitably a question with this association, and we talk about it a lot with my assistantsacknowledged the French coach on Thursday, June 27, during the Blues’ “Media Day”. Car [au basket] It is often considered very difficult to have two players over 2.15m play together.” However, Rudy Gobert is measured at 2.16 m, while Victor Wembanyama peaks at 2.24 m.

“But Victor has a mobility that is not that of a player [de sa taille] »added the French technician, with a wry smile, enticed by the potential of the association between the best defender of the year in the NBA and his runner-up, himself crowned best “rookie” (beginner) of the season, and a new phenomenon in world basketball.

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In this first outing of the Blues on the road to the Paris Olympics, the connection was made from the first action: served behind the three-point line, Wemby sends a ladle out of reach towards his partner, serves Gobert, who scores the first tricolor points. Rebelote a few minutes later. Served on the move, Wembanyama attracts two defenders, and with a pass on the ground, finds his partner, the conclusion of an ideal start to the game (11-0). “It’s obvious that their defensive association is not a problem. In attack, Victor showed his ability to pass, and Rudy benefited from itthe French coach said after the match. But in terms of space coverage in defense, with the two of them, I’ve never seen that.”

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