Denver Nuggets prospect captures gold at Eurobasket 2013

Joffrey Lauvergne was youngest player on France's historic title team
by Aaron Lopez

Nuggets prospect Joffrey Lauvergne stood on the podium in Slovenia and savored his country’s historic moment.

Led by NBA players Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Nicholas Batum, France won its first major basketball championship on Sunday by beating Lithuania in the final of Eurobasket 2013.

Lauvergne, 22, was the youngest player on France’s roster. He played nine games during the tournament, averaging 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds.

“Most memorable was definitely the moment when we got up on the podium to receive the gold medal,” Lauvergne wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. “It's an electrifying experience.”

After four years playing professionally in the top leagues in France, Spain and Serbia, Lauvergne was selected 55th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. His draft rights were traded from Memphis to Denver in a deal that sent Kosta Koufos to the Grizzlies.

Lauvergne, who will remain overseas for the upcoming season, said his Eurobasket experience was invaluable.

“Being part of a first-ever gold medal team for France is really something special and unique,” he said. “Being around and playing with such a great players like Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum and others made me work hard and improve my game.”

Lauvergne is looking forward to building upon France’s success at next year’s FIBA World Cup in Spain. The roster also could include Nuggets guard Evan Fournier, who is part of the senior national team program.

“I hope that I'll be a part of the future teams, where I hope to gain more playing time and importance,” Lauvergne said. “The upcoming World Championship in Spain in 2014 will be a great test for our team. The world's best basketball teams will be there, including USA with its NBA stars, so of course, I would be very excited and enthusiastic about playing there.”