This weekend, the French ProA will start into the new season. After having checked already which German prospects may be the ones to watch, we take a look today at the French players that are probably ready for the next step. And the least that one could say is that the future looks Golden for France.
Christophe Leonard – 1m96 – SF – 1990 – Cholet Basket
This season will be a very important one for the athletic forward from Cholet Basket. After having dominated the French Youth Leagues, it is now his turn to take over at professional level. Cholet is certainly the right place to do so as the team generally gives lots of minutes to its youngsters. Leonard played 9 minutes in the first official game of the season and will also see the court this season in the Euroleague.
Leonard was a member of the French U20 team that won the Gold Medal this summer at the European Championship but a quick look at his numbers shows his biggest problem. The Martinique-native needs to become more regular from behind the three-point line where he made only 20.8% of his shot attempts. Additionally, he had a horrible 5/15 from the free-throw line. This will of course not help him on the professional level and Leonard definitely needs to find a consistency in his shot. The French magazine Basketnews also features him as one of the French players that should explode in a positive way this season by claiming: This young man has too much talent to not make a good career. Christophe Leonard, it is up to you to elevate your level to ProA level now. Check the recent Video below where Leonard presents himself in a few Questions&Answers (in French).
Paul Lacombe – 1m97 – SG/PG – 1990 – ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne
Paul Lacombe is of course featured in this preview as he remains one of the favorite prospects of the author. His versatility, athletic abilities and basketball understanding make him a coach’s dream. Lacombe was also a member of the French U20 generation that won Gold this summer a bit by surprise for the local basketball followers. But Lacombe is probably the player who still has the most upside of this team and he will most likely have some important impact with ASVEL this season.
In the Euroleague Qualification Round, Lacombe averaged 4.75ppg, 1.75rpg, 1.75apg and 1.75spg in 18 minutes per contest. These numbers show that head coach Vincent Collet will use Lacombe as a full-time back-up and he even spent more than 20 minutes on the court twice. The French guard will bring some energy from the bench for ASVEL and he seems to be ready to make the next step in his career. Check out the video below for one of the best games of Lacombe in the U20 European Championship this summer where he scored 23pts and had 7rebs versus Spain.
Andrew Albicy – 1m78 – PG – 1990 – Paris-Levallois
What a summer this was for the tiny French PG who had a break-out season on the ProA level already last year. Gold Medal at the U20 and a selection for the Senior National team where he showed his potential during the World Championship in Turkey. So now, Albicy has to confirm and take over the team in Paris-Levallois and lead it to the next level. When he finds a way to create a better relation between drives until the rim and mid-range stops, he will have more scoring impact as well as his size limits him of course to become a huge scorer on layups.
Evan Fournier – 1m98 – SG/SF – 1992 – Poitiers Basket
The youngest player in this list is Evan Fournier who comes of a first professional season with JSF Nanterre in the French ProB after his drop out of the CFBB. Fournier played a good season in the second league but a small injury stopped him this summer so that he was not present in Lithuania with the U18. Fournier is among the most talented players in Europe playing on the wing and he may already get serious minutes with Poitiers this season turning only 18 by the end of October. His coach Rudy Nelhomme told the French press that the pre-season went well for the young prospect. Nelhomme likes his capacity to score and underlines the fact that Fournier is a “faux-lent”, a player who looks slow but is fast.
Nicolas Lang – 1m96 – SG – 1990 – Elan Chalon
27pts, 4rebs and a 31 evaluation versus Pesaro in the EuroChallenge 2009/2010; those numbers will stay forever and were the result of the best game of Nicolas Lang so far. So it is about time that Lang will show his full potential over a complete season from this fall. It looks like Chalon expects a lot from the Mulhouse-native as the roster is far from being packed in the back-court next to him. Lang is the fourth player of our preview who won Gold this summer and showed that he can work very well in a system. It is now up to him to make the next step and use the minutes that Greg Beugnot seems to give him. He averaged 9.0pts in the pre-season with a peak at 19pts so it looks like Lang will deliver.