Victor Wembanyama declares for NBA draft and says: ‘I hope it’s big news’
He is arguably the most talked about basketball prospect since a young LeBron James featured in the 2003 NBA draft.
Now 7ft 5ins French teenager Victor Wembanyama is expected to be the top pick in this summer’s NBA selection lottery after officially declaring for the draft.
The 19-year-old says he has submitted the paperwork making him eligible for selection.
“I hope it’s big news,”
“Declaring for the draft, it’s something crazy I’m not realising yet,”
“I realised pretty young I wanted to play in the NBA but it becomes a reality more every day. I’m so lucky to have this dream within the reach of my hand.”He told ESPN.
Wembanyama has starred in the French basketball league already and is is averaging more than 21 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game after featuring 29 times for Metropolitans 92.
The Detroit Pistons, the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs have the highest chance of obtaining the top pick in the June draft, but Wembanyama says he has no preference – he just wants to enter the NBA.
“I am not worried; there is no bad organisation,”
“I never tell myself: ‘I don’t like to go there.’ There’s no wrong destination.”He said.
A star in the making
Why is Wembanyama so feted? Apart from his impressive game statistics, there’s his staggering frame. He stands higher than the 7ft 1ins Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most imposing figures in recent NBA history.
And with that comes an eight-foot wingspan – bigger than anyone playing in the league currently. Longer arms tend to mean a player has more versatility at both ends of the court.
Then there’s the marketability. Wembanyama boasts 1.3m Instagram followers and his TikTok posts have garnered as many as 15m views.
NBA executives have estimated he could add as much as $500m (£402m) to a franchise’s value, according to ESPN’s NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, who called Wembanyama “the singular greatest prospect in NBA draft history”.
“He’s so advanced skillwise, there’s just never been anyone like him,”He added.
Some of the sport’s biggest names have spoken of their excitement about seeing him play in the NBA.
LA Lakers star LeBron James was among those watching as Wembanyama starred in an exhibition game in Las Vegas last October.
His verdict? “He’s more like an alien, he’s for sure a generational talent.”