Batum interview: we played with the weapons we had

This interview was shortly after Turkey knocked France out of the World Championships.  Sorry for taking so long to translate it, something kept coming up whenever I was planning to.

What did you think of this match ?

We tried to do things well, to play hard.  But against euphoria like that, and 76 million people behind them, you can’t do anything.  We did some things well, the first 15 minutes we showed that we were there, but then we started to doubt.  They scored off our turnovers, they didn’t make their 3-point shots, but they still had the upper hand every time.  They did well at 1 on 1, we couldn’t really do anything.  At the end of the first half, we let up, and let them get easy layups, we didn’t really play defense.  At the end of the third quarter, we knew we were behind by 25 points, and we didn’t want to take it anymore, but we tried to get it under 20 points to show a little pride and honor.

Their zone caused you problems ?

They had a very atypical zone, it was very very hard.  It was disturbing because there were a lot of spaces, it seemed too easy.  We only had two days to learn it, they had two months, and they learned it to perfection.  They are big, they move well, they take up space, it is difficult to attack.

What are your feelings as you leave this competition ?

These world championships leave me with mixed feelings.  With the way we started, we had high ambitions.  Lithuania, they had good tactics and they were too strong for us, as you saw.  But New Zealand really got us down, that is perhaps the single biggest regret that we have.  We could have gotten an easier opponent.

Things perhaps would have been different if the absentees had come?

Since July 25th, we weren’t preoccupied about those who weren’t there, we had the team that we had, and I don’t think we need to be ashamed about what we did.  We tried to give a good picture of French basketball, we played with the weapons we had, and we tried to make France and French basketball proud of us, and I think we succeeded.  We showed courage, selflessness, and I am really proud to have done it with these guys.

What is your personal assessment ?

Personally, I have frustrations, I did some things well and there were games where I made a complete mess.  This was my first world championships with the A’s [I’m guessing he means as a starter], last year there were Tony, Ronny, and I was behind them.  This was the first time that I was at the front in a competition like this, and I learned a lot.


My usual disclaimer applies.  My French is far from perfect.  If I've messed something up, let me know and I'll correct it.

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