June 3, 2023

Meet Victor Wembanyama: NBA’s Projected Top Overall Draft Pick


Victor Wembanyama is at the forefront of basketball fans’ minds as the 2023 NBA draft quickly approaches in June. Wembanyama is seen by many NBA scouts as a once-in-a-lifetime, generational talent. The draft sweepstakes for the French basketball player will be in full effect once the season is over. While the NBA draft is always a thrilling time for basketball fans, especially fans of less successful teams, this year’s stakes are high. Some have compared the anticipation to that of the 2003 NBA Draft. That saw the likes of Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Carmelo Anthony enter the National Basketball Association.

Wembanyama stands at 7-foot-4 inches tall and reportedly has an eight-foot wingspan. Along with his freakish build, the nineteen-year-old can handle the basketball like a wing and shoot the ball from three. His natural physical attributes, along with his skill on the court, are what makes Wembanyama so enticing to teams. Scouts believe he can truly be a franchise-changing player for any NBA team.

Family History

LEVALLOIS – PERRET, FRANCE – DECEMBER 11: Victor Wembanyama (1) parents Elodie (Left) and Felix (right) Wembanyama are watching the French National Basketball League (LNB) game between the Metropolitans 92 and the AS Monaco at Palais des sports Marcel-Cerdan on December 11, 2022 in Levallois – Perret, France. (Photo by Glenn Gervot/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Both of Wembanyama’s parents were former athletes. His father, Felix, is a former Track & Field athlete as a triple-jumper, while his mother, Elodie de Fautereau, is a former basketball player and current coach. His father stands 6-foot-6 inches tall, and his mother stands 6-foot-3 inches tall. The baller’s older sister, Eve, plays basketball and won a gold medal with France at the FIBA U16 European Championships in 2017. His younger brother, Oscar, also plays basketball and signed to ASVEL’s U18 team at fifteen. Wembanyama also learned judo and played soccer as a goalkeeper as a child.

Youth Basketball Career

PARIS, FRANCE – JANUARY 09: Victor Wembanyama of Metropolitains 92 reacts during the Betclic Elite match between Metropolitans 92 and LDLC Asvel at Salle Marcel Cerdan on January 09, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

Wembanyama was first scouted during a U11 game in Versailles, France. A coach for Nanterre 92 basketball club, Michael Allard, mistook Wembanyama for a coach of the team. Allard then called the technical director in charge of the U11 program at JSF Nanterre, and shortly after, Wembanyama was moved to the club. Wembanayma rose through the ranks of Nanterre’s program before making his professional debut with the U18 and U21 teams.

Wembanyama also caught the eye of NBA veteran Nicolas Batum at fourteen. He was playing near where the French national team was practicing when his stunning stature caught the eye of Batum. While speaking on the experience with Andscape, Batum mentioned that after the game, he greeted Wembanyama. He stated, “I saw this 14-year-old kid walking, and I said, ‘Hold up. Let me watch this kid play.’ I saw him moving, dribbling, and I called Tony Parker right away and said, ‘We got to get this guy Victor Wembanyama.’”

Professional Career Overseas

HENDERSON, NEVADA – OCTOBER 04: Victor Wembanyama #1 of Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 walks ahead of teammate Tremont Waters #51 as they return to the court after a timeout in the third quarter of their exhibition game against G League Ignite at The Dollar Loan Center on October 04, 2022 in Henderson, Nevada. Ignite defeated Metropolitans 92 122-115. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Wembanyama began his professional basketball career for Nanterre 92, a French team that competed in the under-21 and under-18 leagues in France’s LNB Espoirs league. While playing for Nanterre 92, Wembanyama mostly came off the bench in limited minutes. However, in February 2020, he averaged 15.8 points, 12 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and six blocks per game in the under-18 Kaunas qualifying tournament for the ‘Adidas Next Generation Tournament’ and earned all-tournament team honors.

In June of 2021, Wembanyama signed a contract with ASVEL of the EuroLeague. Many basketball fans regard the EuroLeague as the best league outside the United States. During his time with the team, Wembanyama suffered several injuries and was sidelined for a long time. However, in his final year with the team, he came in second in voting for the EuroLeague Rising Stars Award.

Wembanyama currently plays for Metropolitans 92 of the French LNB Pro A league. It was here that American media began to cover Wembanyama. In October 2022, Metropolitans 92 played two exhibition games in Las Vegas, Nevada, against the G-League Ignite team. Throughout these two games, Wembanyama averaged 36.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and 4.5 blocks. Due to this performance, the NBA announced it would stream all of Metropolitans 92’s games on their app.

Wembanyama became one of the most dominant players in the Pro A League during the 2022-2023 season. He was named captain of the France team during the LNB All-Star game and also took home All-Star game MVP honors, becoming the youngest player in league history to do so. Wembanyama has also played for France’s Junior and Senior National Teams and led his team to two silver medals, including at the 2021 FIBA Under-19 World Cup.

High Praise from NBA’s Best

Wembanyama has also received high praise from many former NBA All-Stars and MVPs as his debut in the NBA approaches. On Wembanyama, Lebron James stated, “I think probably the same as everybody else thinks. Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, but he’s more like an alien. No one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is but as fluid and graceful as he is on the floor. He’s for sure a generational talent. Hopefully, he continues to stay healthy. That’s the important thing for him.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo also had high praise for Wembanyama. He, too, was a highly scouted European player who is now an NBA champion and back-to-back league MVP. While speaking about Wembanyama, Antetokounmpo stated, “I had the chance to watch Victor play in 2021, a year ago, for the first time because my little brother, Kostas, played for ASVEL, and they were teammates. And he’s incredible, man. His skills, the way he can shoot the ball, the way he can move, he’s extremely fast for his size, he can block shots, he can be a threat on the defensive end, he’s unbelievable. I believe it’s only a matter of time until he’s in the league.”

Continued Co-Signs

Kevin Durant, a player to who Wembanyama’s basketball ability has often been compared, also reflected on Wembanyama’s potential. He stated, “That type of talent and skill just puts a smile on your face if you play basketball. The evolution of the game has taken us this far. We got a 7-foot-5-inch dude that’s able to do everything on the court. It’s inspiring to a lot of people. The league’s really in trouble when he comes in. I want to see how it plays out. Everybody has been excited about his arrival to the league, so we’ll see what happens.”


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