Before and during the Olympics, we talked a lot about how the cores of various national teams either had or were aging out of their prime.
Argentina, Lithuania and Spain have all seen their greatest teams fade away and France may be about to as well.
Or maybe not.
We’ve also said that basketball is overdue for the next great big man. The NBA went from the Bill Russell/Wilt Chamberlain era to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Bill Walton to Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon to Shaq, Yao Ming and Tim Duncan to, well, not so much lately.
A 7-3 center, his agility is reminiscent of Sampson’s. He’s just 17 and not surprisingly stick-thin. Clearly he doesn’t know how to use his body as well as he will in a few years.
But like most kids today, he can play all over the court. He can shoot outside, drive and defend. And if you’re going to go with position less basketball, or something close to it, better to to it with bigger guys than little.
If he continues to improve, he could become the heart of the next great French team.