Just in blue, Batum earned his stripes in the line up alongside Parker, Diaw. The Norman is the new gold nugget of French Basketball
The revelation of the qualifying campaign for the Bleus Nicolas Batum takes stocks a week before the start of the Euro.
Did you have doubts about the Belgians?
Not at all, we really were hungry to win. We've attacked since the beginning, then we went all out. We were pushed from start to finish. The public in Pau has transcended us. We were not 5 on the court but 7 805. We wanted to show the rest of Europe we weren't going to Poland and be kidding.
You're young, in the starting five of the Bleus and qualified for the Euro, what kind of feelings is it giving ?
It's huge. I'm 20, I'm going to the Euro, I'll try to take as much advantage as possible and make something great.
You've made great progress since you left Le Mans in June 2008. In what areas in particular ?
I think it's mostly mental I made progress. I 've made a step ! I feel more mature, better in my game.
You look super easy on the court
It is the impression I give and without bragging I'm not feeling exhausted ! I'm pretty pleased with myself !
"Parker, a model"
You are surrounded by names like Parker and Diaw in the starting five. How do you live with that ?
Parker, Diaw, Pietrus and Turiaf are locomotives. I told them, guys, I'm following you (laughs).
What a long way since Pont-l'Évêque ?
I was fortunate to be well supported very very early. In the pre-teen team in Pont-l'Evêque then in Caen under 16 (I'm the godfather of this team) and then in Le Mans with Philippe Desnos.
Last week you came back in your hometown to participate in workouts with the 5th division team of Pont l'Eveque. Is it a need ?
In fact I felt awkward staying 2 or 3 days at home. I like to settle ! It's refreshing to be in a gym I know well with players from my hometown. My sister is going to take class back in Portland next week. I'll join her with my mother after the Euro.
What inspires you the first-round group with Germany, Latvia, Russia?
It is very open because a few stars are missing but we must be careful because it is a European championship. We've experienced in Pau what having the homecourt advantage meant...
The France team has great potential, can it aim high in the Euro ?
Of course, we must just stay aggressive in defense, it's the key. Then we start running and we're hardly stoppable.
Vincent Collet said the minimum would be quarter-finals !
The minimum's minimum is to qualify for the World championship in 2010 in Turkey. In addition, winning a medal would be huge !
" 89 points in pre-teen "
Everything is going very fast for you ! A trajectory of a meteorite. Are you in another world?
No, my feet are on the ground. Parker is humble yet it is one of the best players in the world, a star ! That's an example !
"Humility is the beginning of talent" often says Collet. Do you feel it's true ?
Indeed ! I'm staying normal. I won't change !
The best memory of your young career?
My record for points in one game: 89 points with the pre-teen team of Pont l'Eveque (smile). My team made 150 and took .... 11.