Vincent Collet, breeder and passer of generations

The France team, led by the same coach for ten years, faces the United States, Wednesday at 13 hours, in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in China.

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In China, Vincent Collet celebrates his ten years at the head of the France team. NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP

Sacred journey for a wedding of tin. At the head of the French basketball team since 2009, Vincent Collet renewed his honeymoon with the Blues crossing China from north to south on Tuesday. That is 1,500 km to connect Nankin to Dongguan, where the Blues face, Wednesday, September 11 (1 pm, French time), which is the best on the planet basketball, the United States, in the quarterfinals of the Cup of the world. An appointment that, if he would have preferred to avoid it, the French coach intends to prepare meticulously.

Landed on tiptoe at the head of the Blues in 2009, Vincent Collet knew everything with the team of France. The highs – a European crown in 2013 and three other international medals – like the low – elimination of Euro 2017 from the knockout stages.

For the now French coach with the longest term in history, Wednesday's meeting evokes the scenario of the last World Cup, at the same stage of the competition. Not favorites for a penny in the arena boiling a large Spain home, the Blues, deprived of Tony Parker and Nando De Colo, had achieved one of the greatest achievements of French basketball, before winning the bronze. Vincent Collet, who confesses to keep his "Best memory in blue", was there for many.

"We can create a surprise. This match is your match. And what I can say, it's not worth much if you're not convinced. So, what do we decide? Do we win this match, or do we just do figuration? " The "Interior Sport" cameras captured, in 2014, the speech of a coach on mission: to persuade his group that he could do it. "Nobody believed in us", remember this hard work perfectionist, who finds in this team, "Younger, more malleable", fertile ground where to implant his ideas. A bit like this year.

"Experience and maturity"

Because Vincent Collet is a trainer. As evidenced by Nicolas Batum, whom he launched in Pro A (the French championship) at 16 years old at Le Mans, wearing a nickname – "Bambi" – and a great confidence in his potential. "Vincent has always been committed, both in the club and the French team, to succeed in a clever mix between advancing the players we launch and optimize those a little older", relates his deputy in Blue, Ruddy Nelhomme.


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