France announced on Tuesday a star-studded squad for their FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign in China, one that has giant center Rudy Gobert, veteran forward Nic Batum and combo-guard Nando de Colo.
While including several of the players that featured in big tournaments like the 2016 Olympics or FIBA EuroBasket 2017, coach Vincent Collet has also named two key men from Les Bleus’ European Qualifiers campaign, Andrew Albicy and Paul Lacombe.
Albicy played in all 12 of the Qualifiers while Lecombe featured in 10 of the games.
Amath M’Baye, arguably the revelation of the season in the Basketball Champions League after helping Segafredo Virtus Bologna capture the title, is among the 15. He played in four of the Qualifiers.
||Nando De Colo
Moustapha Fall, Edwin Jackson, Lahaou Konate, Elie Okobo, Yakuba Ouattara, Leo Westermann and Guerschon Yabusele have been named as reserves while Alexandre Chassang and Theo Maledon will take part in training with the 15-strong squad.
While the roster will not be finalized for some time, Collet says there are several players that are “indisputable” and will be in the team that plays at the World Cup.
They are De Colo, Evan Fournier, Batum, Gobert, Vincent Poirier and Mathias Lessort.
France will compete in Group G in the First Round against the Dominican Republic, Germany and Jordan. Those games will be played in Shenzhen, China.
A top-two finish would put them into Second Round Group L, where they would square off against the first two sides from a Group H that consists of Canada, Senegal, Lithuania and Australia.
France pulled off the upset of the World Cup five years ago in Madrid when Thomas Heurtel and Rudy Gobert led the team to a 65-52 victory over Spain. Two games later and Collet’s side defeated Lithuania in the Third Place Game to reach the podium.
Batum was sensational throughout the tournament and was named to the All-Star Five.
France’s players will gather at INSEP in Paris on July 28-29 to take their medicals and for a media day. Their training begins in Pau on July 29.
From August 15-17 in Lyon, France will take on Montenegro, Brazil, Argentina, respectively, as World Cup warm-up games.
Then in Shenyang, China, Collet team will play friendlies against New Zealand, Italy and Serbia.
Their first World Cup game is against Germany on September 1 in Shenzhen, followed by clashes with Jordan (September 3) and Dominican Republic (September 5).
This will be the first-ever 32-team FIBA Basketball World Cup, which is the biggest event on the international sports calendar this year. Also for the first time, FIBA’s flagship event will be staged in China.