Vincent Collet best quotes from FIBA Trophy Tour / Roster French National Team 15
The hierarchy of the team
Thomas Heurte is our starting point guard. Andrew Albicy is number 2. And we will probably bring three point guards at the World Cup. Franck Ntilikina has been called because of his abilities in defense. We want a strong defensive player in each line of the team. That is why Axel Toupane is also here. So we will have to choose between them.
On the perimeter, Nando De Colo, Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum, who will play sometimes on the 4 spot are indispensable of course. Same thing in the paint with Rudy Gobert and Vincent Poirier, Adrien Moerman and I also think Mathias Lessort.
The selection process will concern the other players. It will depend on what we see from players, we will be very cautious with the balance we want for the team. It hurt the team in 2017. We did not have enough complementarity, enough cohesion, compared to the years before.
Rudy Gobert ?
Rudy Gobert is more than a great defensive player. He is a defense by himself. He is an anchor. In 2017 our defense was not up to the level of a great tournament. His presence is a great news.
4 players from the Windows, Albicy, Lacombe, MBaye, Lessort ?
Yes, we are sending a message. For Andrew Albicy and Paul Lacombe, it was evident because of what they showed on the court with their qualities but also with their engagement and leadership, the values they displayed during all the Windows. They were the leaders of the team that qualified us. Mathias Lessort has shown the same qualities over the last months. And his basketball qualities are a great complement to the other players in the paint. It is very important in a competition like the World Cup with team with very different profile. He is a small but very dynamic center and he will help us. And Amath Mbaye has been the surprise of the windows. He’s not yet in the final roster but he is a very interesting player for us.
No Fabien Causeur ?
I’ve talked to Fabien. He did not want to play this competition. He said he was exhausted after two huge seasons with Real Madrid. Our interview went really well but I was very clear with him : his place in the team was not guaranteed. Our talk was very open and positive. We told each other the truth. But he would have been in competition with Paul Lacombe, Tim Luwawu Cabarrot and Axel Toupane. This year we are lucky to have a very deep group, with a lot of players able to compete and play. And we’ve had very few forfeit. I really was able to choose.
Every game will be capital at the World Cup. We will respect every team. Nothing will be easy. Every game will be dangerous. To start against Germany will be a strong test right away. And if we qualify for the second round, we will face teams that can pretend to a medal. I’m not even sure Lithuania will be there. Canada is very strong and for me, on paper, Australia is the second best team in the tournament behind Team USA. It will be very difficult. We have to qualify and we have to finish first or we will face Team USA in the quarter finals.