By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
In recent years, France has emerged as a hotbed of NBA-level prospects, and this tradition is expected to continue in the 2020 NBA draft by Killian Hayes, among others.
And while Hayes’ talent was once again in the display of the 7Days EuroCup, two younger French prospects made their debut. Matthew Strazel played for the first time in a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague game for ASVEL, and Victor Wembanyama (photo) did the same in EuroCup for Nanterre 92.
Wenbanyama, despite being the second-youngest player ever to compete in a EuroCup game, he is not an unknown. The 15-years old phenomenon is already 7-2 feet tall, and he has dominated the FIBA junior tournaments. He entered the court for 31 seconds and made a foul, but his future is expected to be more than bright.
Born August 5, 2002, Matthew Strazel is the second-youngest player registered in the EuroLeague, after Millan Jimenez of Valencia Basket. And he gave quality minutes for LDLC ASVEL in the big win against KIROLBET Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Theo Maledon, also a guard, is the most well-known prospect of ASVEL, but he missed the game due to a shoulder injury. Strazel stayed on the court for 13 minutes and finished the night with 3/4 threes.
“I felt a little bit of pressure when I came on the court, but I was focused on my defense, and I had the chance to make some open shots,” Strazel said to EuroLeague. “Coach gave me my chance, he told me he’s confident in me, and I’m very thankful!”
“Matthew is a good guy, a talented player. When I saw him in practice for the first time last year, he played with the older guys and had to respect them in a positive way. He felt comfortable, shot, passed the ball and played hard on defense,” ASVEL coach Zvezdan Mitrovic said in the post-game press conference. “I think the guy deserved the minutes, and I like to give chances to everybody in my team. He grabbed his chances and played well.”