Basketball News

Dirk Nowitzki impressed by Alexandre Sarr and Melvin Ajinça

Ambassador of the 2023 World Cup and Chairman of the FIBA ​​Players’ Commission, Dirk Nowitzki was this weekend in Hungary to attend the end of the U19 World Cup. The German basketball legend did not have the chance to participate in this competition because in his time, the event was held every four years.

“It would have been good because our 1978 generation in Germany was actually a very good team. Some of them (Sven Schultze, Mithat Demirel, Robert Maras) played with me in the senior national team” recalls the former “franchise player” of the Mavericks.

What did he remember from the 2023 edition won by Spain against France?

“First of all, I thought the semi-final between France and the United States was fantastic. The standard was excellent. The level was intense. There was skill, actions… There were greats to counter… I think this match had everything it needed to be a great match. It was exciting until the end. I was a little surprised by the defeat of the United States. But France is a difficult team. She has stature, skill, creativity… It was a great match. »

“Sarr is athletic and he has great potential”

On an individual level, the German has also retained some French talent.

“On the French side, (Alexandre) Sarr is athletic and he has great potential. I really liked (Melvin) Ajinca, and I actually played with his cousin Alexis Ajinca. They’re really, really strong.” says Nowitzki. “Spain was of course impressive. They played a lot on their backs and Jordi Rodriguez shoots easily. And then Izan Almansa is really solid, with good length, good hands. He can end up inside. »

On the United side, he was impressed by the backs. “I like (Dylan) Harper, whose father is Ron Harper. I know him because I was a huge Chicago Bulls fan. I love her so much. I like Tre Johnson. He is very young, but we can see that he knows how to shoot and play without the ball.” observes Nowitzki, before evoking two Japanese interiors. “Akira Jacobs and Yuto Kawashima are interesting and they know how to play. I found that the general level was quite good. »

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