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FIBA Stunner II - France Is OUT

And the Australians may not be far behind

 France’s Nicolas Batum (R) shots the ball during the FIBA Basketball World Cup group G match between France and Latvia at Indonesia Arena in Jakarta on August 27, 2023. 
Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images

There was a time when former Blue Devil Crawford Palmer managed to play for the French National team, and they were glad for it. Palmer helped the French win silver in the 2000 Olympics, eight years after his Blue Devil teammate Christian Laettner won gold with the Dream Team in 1992.

It’s hard to imagine Palmer playing for France today. The French, like so many national teams, have multiple NBA players and superb athletes down the roster.

It hasn't mattered in this summer’s FIBA play though.

The game against Latvia was much closer than the blowout delivered by the Canadians, but an 88-86 loss is still a loss and this one sent the French home.

At some point presumably, phenom Victor Wembanyama will play for France and with his size and freakish offensive skills, combined with his shot blocking prowess, he’ll make a huge impact.

It won’t help this year though. It never occurred to us that France would be out after two games, but there they go. Nicolas Batum said “[w]e let a lot of people down, ourselves first...“When you lose in the semis or quarterfinals, it’s different. I mean, at least you compete. We didn’t even get past the first round. We have high expectations. I’m ashamed...I’m scared to go home because we let a lot of people down. The whole country, a lot of people in the country believed in us to do something special, and we didn’t do it.”

RJ Barrett and Canada rolled on in Game II, clocking Lebanon 128-73. No surprise there of course, but still, our Northern neighbors have won their first two games by an average of 42.5 points. They’ll see Latvia on Tuesday and that should be very interesting.

Also, Jack White and the Boomers are in trouble and one loss away from going home themselves after losing to Germany, 85-82. Like France, Australia has become a very good national team and such poor play (it’s not just against the Germans) is hard to figure. The Boomers have nine NBA players on this year’s roster.

The US plays Greece Monday morning at 8:30, which won’t be particularly easy but you have to play good teams to win anything. And as France and Australia have illustrated, if you don’t, you’ll pay a steep price.