l’élite des prospects français versus Bronny James et sa clique, récit d'une soirée un peu hors du temps

l’élite des prospects français versus Bronny James et sa clique, récit d’une soirée un peu hors du temps

“All the happiness in the world lies in the unexpected”, defended Jean d’Ormesson. From that moment, happy who, like TrashTalk, moved to the Maurice Thorez sports hall in Nanterre to see Bronny James climbing the cousin of Alexis Ajinca, all under the eyes of Tyronn Lue, Nicolas Batum and Hugo Ekitike. Could we sincerely dream of a better August 15?

It’s 7 p.m. We arrive in front of the Maurice Thorez sports hall where, an hour before the start of hostilities, a queue of about twenty meters has already formed. The ticket office is only there for information, the event will be sold out. This evening, no trace of Luke Fischer, Benjamin Sene or even Chris Horton, but the presence, as unusual as it is exceptional, of the players of the California Basket Club, including Bronny James, Bryce James, Justin Pippen and Ashton Hardaway. The names are not illusory, these four teenagers are indeed ” son of “ came to Nanterre to face the elite of French prospects, U16, U17 and U18 combined. The sports agency “comsport”, number 1 importer of French basketball players in the NBA, has actually taken advantage of the passage of these over-mediatised phenomena – and therefore of the cameras of ESPN 2 – to present its nuggets to the basketball world. Basically, the 3,000 spectators did not necessarily come in the hope of a tricolor result, but rather to get an idea of ​​the true level of these four ” son of “ of which, despite countless highlight videos which too often omit to count the losses of bullets – we knew nothing verifiable. So when they come to us – between a date in London and a second in Rome – nothing beats a good pair of eyes and a front row seat from Maurice Thorez to get your own idea about our idol kids.

It’s 7:55 p.m. The national anthems resound in a sports hall turned into a cauldron. By “cauldron” we hear of course that there is great fervor there, but not only. It is 43 degrees in the enclosure and each object likely to serve as a fan – accreditation, flyers or even an empty can – provokes a duel to the death between his courtiers. Despite this heat, sacred guests responded present. Passing through Paris, Tyronn Lue moved into the small VIP area, a few minutes before Victor Wembanyama don’t join him. Neither one, their handshake goes around the internet. We also see Amara Sithe Admiral, freshly appointed sports director of Paris Basketball, and Clarence Nadolny, the Frenchman from Texas Tech who is entering his senior year. The announcer, pleasantly unconventional, also announces the presence of Hugo EkitikeParis Saint-Germain’s latest recruit. Nicholas Batum got up very/too early in the morning, and will only arrive at half-time. What did he miss? Three times nothing, just a probable piece of history.

What was the probability of seeing Bronny James one day put his first support on a Leclerc logo before crushing, opposite hand, the cousin of Alexis Ajinca? Shared by LeBron James and Stephen Curry, this action gave a good echo to the event, which was not limited to the highlighting of Bronny. In the first half, the French Bilal Coulibaly literally made the crowds rise by intercepting a bad pass from son James, before going to slam a backpack at very high altitude. From then on, the atmosphere turns into a combat arena. From each lock-down of a tricolor on Bronny arise the howls of gladiators in the stands. The home treatment par excellence. Second to General Coulibaly, roman house – announced post 3 but that we found brilliant at the creation – also splashes the encounter with its sharpness. When the blond BCM Gravelines is on the floor, the French offensive sequences gain in structure and the purity of his game does not escape any observer present in the room. Its shooting mechanics, while unsophisticated and forward-throwing, hit the mark with impressive speed. And then, his nonchalance gives him such a unique flow. The impression that he was interrogated by SVT at 8am the next day and that his only concern is to finish the match to go and review eukaryotic cell division. In short, this French selection has charm but sees itself dominated at intermission, 50 to 41, by Californians dependent on Bronny (16 points). James’ other son, Bryce, who is only a 2007 (his brother is a 2005) hasn’t stepped on the court yet.

On the resumption, Ashton Hardaway comes out of his box a little in a register that is not easy to define. A bit chubby, the son of Penny evolves on position 2 and manages, on one or two drives, to make the difference physically. But like the rest of Bronny’s teammates, he fails to register his good passage over time. Little by little, the advance of the Cainris is thinning out and the Bilal Coulibaly – Roman Domon – trio Maxim Logue takes over the meeting. The last named, a resident of INSEP, boned the California racket while flaunting great versatility : able to lift the ball, spin in drive or conclude an unbalanced alley-oop, his combination of touch / power / agility probably caught the eye of the scouts present at Maurice Thorez. He especially allowed the French to inflict a 20 to 5 to the cainris at the exit of the locker room. This run completely disarmed Bronny James, then author of his fifth fault, and obliged to leave without punctuating his performance at 25 points with a victory. It’s infuriating, but the 1m91 leader swept away many of our first. He is a real basketball player, owner of an impressive air palette, and capable of taking the conduct when his teammates are grounded. One year before arriving in the NCAA, slamming 25 pearls against young people who already have professional flair is a harbinger of great maturity. What his brother does not yet have, whose entry into the second half has only provoked reactions: “Oh they are too stylish his glasses”. Quiet: he is only 15 years old and around 2m, it will come when it comes.

We did not mention it above but the meeting ended with an entry by Oscar Wembanyama (2007), Victor’s younger brother, decisive passer for a final tomar by Bilal Coulibaly. The latter was elected MVP of the meeting, despite our crush on roman house. The two prospects leave no matter what, having won the hearts of the public. One scored 25 points at 8/10 in shooting and intercepted 5 balls, the other scored “only” 12 units but distinguished himself by his capital importance in the victory of the Blues, 97 to 85. We also thumbs up for the catch-and-shoot of Melvin Ajinca and the potential of Tidjane Salaunwho measures 2m05 while evolving on the wing. The Choletais call it the “French KD”the others, more objective, are waiting for this 2005 to set the sights to begin to ignite. On our side, we enjoyed ourselves in all respects. The privilege of attending Bronny James’ first very big action in his career, coupled with this satisfied curiosity vis-à-vis the new French generations, made this second freelance of the “Euro Tour Axis” a great success. Before going there, the event smelled of the All-Star Game of Wish where two teams of still irregular teenagers were going to exchange concrete blocks against plexi. We finally had the right to a real show, although devoid of systems – all the players were not used to playing together – between two teams invested in their quest for success, and put under pressure by the prestige and the weight of certain pairs of eyes in the gallery. A nice promotion for the French formation, there’s more than to invest in an air conditioning.

Huge success that this passage of the Ax Tour in Nanterre. Pure talents who showed their teeth – Coulibaly, Domon, Logue, Salaun, Ajinca, Owona and company – against a team of ” son of “ that we were waiting to be able to gauge. In addition, the presence of Victor Wembanyama, Tyronn Lue and Nico Batum added a little prestige to an event whose room for improvement lies exclusively in logistics. You fix that, and it was perfect.

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