Wembanyama, countrymen at French flair to international class of NBA draft prospects

June 17, 2023  -PARIS (AP) — Victor Wembanyama wasn’t the only young French prospect turning heads overseas.

Granted, fans would have had to look much farther to find Rayan Rupert, who played for the New Zealand Breakers. He is among the international prospects expecting to hear their names called at the NBA draft on Thursday in New York. They don’t possess Wembanyama’s size and skills but they’re confident they can make an impact.

There’s a distinct French flavor in this year’s draft class. Wembanyama and Rupert are French, as is Bilal Coulibaly, Wembanyama’s teammate with Metropolitans 92.

Here’s a look at some of the top international prospects other than Wembanyama:

RAYAN RUPERT, NEW ZEALAND BREAKERS

STRENGTHS: Rupert is a tenacious defender with a 7-foot-2 wingspan who likens his game to Mikal Bridges of the Brooklyn Nets. Standing 6-6 without shoes, the 193-pound swingman was part of the National Basketball League’s Next Stars program and just turned 19. He averaged 5.9 points, 2.1 rebounds per game. After breaking his right wrist early in the season, he used the time to improve his left-hand skills. His sister, Iliana Rupert, was drafted by the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces in 2021.

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