NBA

Wembanyama 'takes over' in Stateside debut to ramp up excitement ahead of 2023 NBA Draft

By Sports Desk October 05, 2022

Victor Wembanyama lived up to his considerable hype in scoring 37 points against Scoot Henderson's G League Ignite.

The French 18-year-old is the top prospect in the 2023 NBA Draft but was yet to play in the United States before Tuesday's game with his Metropolitans 92 team.

Wembanyama had described it as "the biggest game I've played in my life", and he did not disappoint on that stage.

The seven-foot-four forward got to his game-leading points haul on 11-of-20 shooting, including making a remarkable seven of 11 threes. He also had five blocks on the defensive end.

It was not enough to beat the Ignite, with Henderson – the projected number two pick – inspiring a 122-115 win, but a big half-time deficit set Wembanyama up to dominate.

"At some point, it was just about taking over," he explained afterwards. "Our team definitely needed players to step up because we were down [21 points], I think.

"Coming back from such a lead is a tough task, so you've got to take responsibility.

"Three is more than two, so in these times, you've got to do what you've got to do, like taking fast-break threes. You've got to score points as fast as possible."

Henderson finished with 28 points, nine assists and five rebounds and said of his performance: "I feel like I played pretty good. I've still got areas of my game where I feel like I need to get better, for sure, and that's not on the stat sheet."

But the Ignite star was not interested in comparisons with Wembanyama, adding: "I didn't really think about it too much. I was there to win

"They talk, but I wasn't paying attention to all that. I try to stay off social media as much as I can when it comes to comparing and contrasting players.

"I wanted to – I don't really feed into that. I just feed into going into the game 110 per cent and focusing on winning. That was my main goal today, and we got the goal done."

Henderson did add Wembanyama is "a pretty good player", even if "nothing really surprised me".

And Wembanyama was complimentary in return, saying of his fellow prospect: "He's tough to guard – just what I expected.

"I think the biggest point of his game is his aggressiveness. Every time the ball is in his hands, it's something you can feel on the court: he can do something dangerous, he can slash, he can shoot the ball.

"I was surprised in a good way – he's a great player."

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