France picks Victor Wembanyama for World Cup qualifying games

A top prospect for the 2023 NBA Draft, Wembanyama would make his senior national team debut as France attempts to seal a World Cup berth.

Prospects Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson deliver memorable performances in their 2 exhibition games in Las Vegas.

PARIS (AP) — Top NBA draft prospect Victor Wembanyama will join France’s national team next month for a pair of World Cup qualifying games.

The French federation made the announcement Friday. The 7-foot-3 Wembanyama is among 12 players selected for a road game at Lithuania on Nov. 11 and a home contest against Bosnia and Herzegovina on Nov. 14.

If he plays, it would mark Wembanyama’s debut with the French senior national team. He couldn’t play in EuroBasket this summer because of injury recovery; France wound up falling to Spain in the gold-medal game of that event.

France is trying to wrap up a berth in the 2023 World Cup, to be played in the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. France is currently 6-2 in World Cup qualifying, well on its way to becoming one of the 12 teams from Europe that will clinch a spot in the 32-team tournament.

The French national team’s coach is Vincent Collet, who also coaches Wembanyama with the pro club Metropolitans 92.

Metropolitans split a pair of games near Las Vegas this week against the G League Ignite, with Wembanyama — the consensus frontrunner to be the No. 1 pick in the 2023 draft — averaging 36.5 points in those matchups.

The 18-year-old Wembanyama has played for France’s national programs before, including the 2019 FIBA U16 European Championship and the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup — falling to the U.S. 83-81 in the gold-medal game of that event.