And-Ones: Gobert, Ibaka, Wembanyama, Ataman, Abogidi

Utah center Rudy Gobert, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, will compete for France in the FIBA EuroBasket tournament this summer, writes Yann Ohnona of French outlet L’Equipe (hat tip to Gobert said he had some concerns about his knee, but his MRI was clear so he’ll be ready to go in a few months (the event runs from September 1-18).

It’s been a few days that it’s been clear in my head,” he said, per L’Equipe. “The process took some time. If I listened to myself, I would still be 200 percent to go, but in recent years I’ve had a few breaks because of knee pain.

Once I had an MRI to ensure there was no problem, I was able to organize my summer. It was important that everything was clear in my head before I committed. The fact that Evan [Fournier] is there is a factor, I love going to war with him.”

Gobert helped guide France to a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer.

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran center Serge Ibaka, who’s an unrestricted free agent this summer, hopes to play for Spain at EuroBasket, as reported by Spanish journalist Marc Mundet (hat tip to Ibaka hasn’t played for Spain in international competition since 2014 at the FIBA World Cup. After undergoing back surgery last June, Ibaka struggled to regain his old form this season, averaging just 6.8 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 54 games (16.2 MPG) for the Clippers and Bucks.
  • French phenom Victor Wembanyama is the reason why NBA teams are already eyeing the 2023 draft, according to Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated, who says Wembanyama is the most hyped prospect since LeBron James and “would likely have rated as the top prospect in any draft in the past decade,” including 2022, were he eligible. The 7’3″ big man possesses a 7’9″ wingspan and a tantalizing combination of mobility and skill, Woo notes. Rival teams believe the Thunder will continue their losing ways for at least one more season to keep their hat in the ring for a chance to select the 18-year-old in ’23, Woo writes.
  • Turkish National Team head coach Ergin Ataman, who has led Anadolu Efes to two consecutive EuroLeague titles, has emerged as a candidate for an NBA assistant coaching job, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Ataman joked about joining Gregg Popovich‘s staff in San Antonio earlier this month after the long-time coach came to watch the EuroLeague Final Four, per Donatas Urbonas of “Maybe after three consecutive final appearances, he (Popovich) thinks that let’s take one European coach to the NBA and help me go to the NBA,” Ataman laughed. “He’s a good friend of mine. He helped me a lot four years ago when I went to San Antonio. I stayed ten days with him. He’s an amazing person.”
  • Former Washington State center Efe Abogidi, who withdrew from the ’22 draft earlier today, is expected to sign with G League Ignite, reports Jeff Goodman of Stadium (via Twitter). The big man averaged 8.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG, and 1.8 BPG in 37 games (20.9 MPG) for the Cougars as a sophomore last season.
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