Scoot Henderson and his NBA G League Ignite may have come out with the victory on Tuesday night against Metropolitans 92, but there’s no denying that the biggest winner of the spectacle has to be French phenom Victor Wembanyama.
With his team down big at halftime, the projected No. 1 overall pick for the 2023 NBA Draft came out firing in the second half. He erupted for 37 points in the ballgame as he had the entire basketball world buzzing after his mind-blowing display.
After the game, Wembanyama opened up about his mindset at the break and what led to his second-half explosion against Henderson and Co. (via Myron Medcalf of ESPN):
“At some point, it was just about taking over because our team needed players to step up because we were down [21 points], I think,” said Wembanyama. “Coming back from such a lead, it’s a tough task. … There are times, you got to do what you got to do.”
Wembanyama also admitted that his stamina was a factor during the game. The 18-year-old is used to playing 10-minute quarters in Europe, and the 12-minute periods from Tuesday’s exhibition were a different experience for him. To be honest, however, the kid didn’t look like he was gassed.
This was the first time Wembanyama played a game that had national coverage in the United States. There was a lot of hype heading into the matchup, and the 7-foot-2 big man made sure to deliver:
“It’s just playing basketball on a stage,” he said. “That’s what I took away from this night.”
The biggest takeaway from Tuesday’s eye-popping performance is that Victor Wembanyama is the real deal.