Updated: Nov 20
For a lot of scouts, front office and fans, this season may be about Victor Wembanyama. The 7-foot-3 French phenom, whose wingspan is 8.0 is not only the overwhelming favorite for No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft, but also one of the most hyped prospects in a long while.
The 18 year-old powered French LNB side, Metropolitans 92 to a 92-85 victory in a tightly contested battle against Nanterre Victor; finishing with 30 points, 9 rebounds and 5 blocks.
What's with the Hype around Wembanyama?
It’s been weeks since Wembanyama lit up Las Vegas with a pair of jaw-dropping performances for his French club, Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92, in a two-game showcase against the G League Ignite on Oct. 4 and 6.
From the hundreds of scouts in attendance to NBA superstars sitting courtside or watching at home, to basketball fans tuning in to see more than just highlights, the buzz of the basketball world centered on Wembanyama.
Heading into the first game of the showcase, Wembanyama knew that he was about to play the most important game of his life. He did not succumb to the pressure of the moment, but instead rose to the occasion and surpassed even the highest expectations as he cemented his spot at the top of every mock draft for the 2023 NBA draft next June.
The reaction to his performance – 37 points, seven 3-pointers, five blocked shots – was an avalanche of praise, but there was one voice in particular that stood out above the rest: LeBron James.
“Everybody’s been a unicorn over the last few years, but he’s more like an alien,” James said. “No one has ever seen anyone as tall as he is but as fluid and as graceful as he is out on the floor.
“At 7-foot-4 or 7-5 or 7-3, whatever the case may be, his ability to put the ball on the floor, shoot step-back jumpers out of the post, step-back 3s, catch-and-shoot 3s, block shots, he’s for sure a generational talent,” James said.
Beyond the G-League Ignite Showcase
After Wembanyama’s outstanding showing against the Ignite, there was thought that he may shut things down from a competitive standpoint and just work on his body and his game in preparation for next summer’s draft.
But at this point, the plan is for Wembanyama to continue to play with Metropolitans 92 and continue to build his game through competitive games in LBN ProA – the highest tier in French basketball.
Wembanyama took the praise from LeBron and others in stride and said he still has much more work to do to prepare him for his basketball future.
“It’s obviously an honor to see such great people talk like this about me, but it really doesn’t change anything,” Wembanyama said. “People around me sent me the video this morning, and I was like ‘Oh that’s cool,’ but no more. I try to stay focused.
In his last game on Nov. 4, Wembanyama was both dominant and efficient as he finished with 33 points on 10-of-17 (58.8%) shooting from the field, 3-of-8 from 3-point range and 10-of-12 from the free throw line.