While in Treviso, Italy, attending adidas Eurocamp earlier this month, Pro Insight’s Jason Filippi had the opportunity to catch up with upcoming French prospect Amaël L’Etang. In this interview, the talented forward spoke about how basketball has shaped his life, his recent improvements as well as his future plans.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2005-born prospect Amaël L’Etang, from Toulouse, France:
Pro Insight: Amaël, can you tell us when and where you started your basketball journey?
Amaël L’Etang: I basically started to play basketball when I was just three years old in my hometown, Toulouse. I grew up in a basketball-loving family. I actually learned the fundamentals from my father who trained me along with my brother and sister who also play basketball at a high level. I was almost always the youngest player on any team I played with growing up, but this obviously worked to my advantage and helped me develop my game better.
PI: I first saw you play with the Cholet Espoir (Junior) team last year, but you didn’t play much. Then I saw you this season in Patras at adidas Next Generation Tournament and I was very impressed as you showed major improvements in your game. What changed for you on the basketball court over the past year?
AL: I have a bigger role on the team this year and more responsibilities on the court. My teammates rely on me more and I have expanded my game. In addition to putting the ball on the deck more I also shoot it more from three-point range, now, too. In general, I just feel more confident in myself.
PI: How tall are you now?
AL: I am 7-0 without shoes, now, but maybe I haven’t finished growing, yet.
PI: This is your first time participating in the adidas Eurocamp. What can you tell us about your experience here and the level of competition?
AL: I realize this is a very important event, so I am very proud to have been invited to this camp as well as being able to represent France and my team, Cholet. It is a major recognition and honor to be here. This is really the first time that I have participated in an international event with so many players of this caliber, so I am very excited.
PI: What are your plans for the summer? Will you be playing with French U18 or U19 teams?
AL: I have been invited to play with the French U18 National Team.
PI: Looking farther ahead, have many college teams approached you in some way?
AL: I am not really into that aspect of the game. I am aware that some college teams have expressed an interest, but it is my agents who deal with those types of things. At the moment, I am just focused on improving my game and playing for the Cholet club this upcoming season.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?
AL (laughs): In the NBA, obviously.
PI: Is there any player that you model your game after or a player that inspires you?
AL: I study a lot the game of Dirk Nowitzki. I see a lot of his game in myself. His versatility and variety of offensive moves is something that I would like to try to duplicate. He is good with the ball and can shoot it, drive to the basket or pass it. I watch a lot of film of him and try to imitate as much as I can on the court – especially his fadeaway shot. I also look a lot at Lauri Markkanen who I think is very similar to me from a physical standpoint. Ideally though, I try to take something from many different players: KD’s shot or Jokic’s passing ability, for example. I watch a lot of NBA games and I am very inspired by these players.