Victor Wembanyama, No. 1 NBA draft prospect in 2023, changing teams in France, sources say

The most coveted NBA draft prospect in the world is on the move.

Victor Wembanyama, ranked No. 1 in the 2023 ESPN mock draft, has opted out of his contract with ASVEL Villeurbanne and is signing a two-year contract with Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 from Paris, a source told ESPN.

The 7-foot-3 18-year old with a 7-9 wingspan and 9-7 standing reach has wowed NBA executives for the better part of three years with his exceptional combination of fluidity, perimeter skill, shot-blocking instincts and feel for the game, cementing himself as the likely No. 1 pick, barring a major surprise. He was named French LNB Pro A Best Young Player two years in a row.

Teams and leagues around the globe pursued Wembanyama, including G League Ignite, the Australian NBL, Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​Paris Basket and many others.

Wembanyama will be coached by longtime French national team head coach Vincent Collet, who has been at the helm of the Tokyo Olympic silver medalists since 2009. Collet has won several titles domestically in France as well, being named Coach of the Year in France on five separate occasions, including most recently this season.

Collet coached then-19-year-old Nicolas Batum in Le Mans before he entered the NBA draft in 2008, giving him an opportunity to showcase himself in the Euroleague despite his youth. He’s well-regarded for his player-development ability and willingness to showcase young players, and that skill played a major role in Wembanyama’s decision.

Wembanyama had an opt-out clause in his contract with ASVEL that needed to be executed by Wednesday, which he ultimately did after the team ended its playoff run with a championship in a five-game series over Monaco.

Wembanyama played 33 of 76 possible games this season in the Euroleague and France, dealing with several minor injuries that played a role in his departure. He averaged 9.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 18 minutes per game in Pro A France, shooting 61% from 2-point range and converting 70% of his free throw attempts.

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