France guard Thomas Heurtel had a taste of what it was like to play against NBA stars at the Rio Olympics, and now the 27-year-old wants more.

Fresh off one of his best ever performances in a national team jersey, the Anadolu Efes point guard has said that if the opportunity arose, he would love a chance of playing in the NBA but said that it isn’t the number one priority.

The guard also said that he didn’t play like that because he thought he had something to prove, he let his showing come to him naturally, posting 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds in a narrow 100-97 loss to the Americans.

TH Rio 2016
France guard Thomas Heurtel posted 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds against the USA, and despite the 100-97 loss, the Anadolu Efes star felt comfortable playing against the world’s best. Photo: FIBA

“Everyone is motivated when he is playing against the United States, these are global superstars,” Heurtel said. “This is not necessarily a goal [heading to the NBA] but if I have the opportunity.

“After all it’s not like I have to go to the NBA, because I had a game like that.”

He added: ‘Euroleague is a great competition but we saw them tonight, the players that are in the NBA, the superstars. They are difficult to play against, the game is faster but we played a great game.”

With Dario Saric now a Philadelphia 76ers player, the Frenchman will see a lot more responsibility next season at Anadolu Efes. But Heurtel is ready … he even got praise from USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.

“The kid Huertel, he played a great game, and so if you have just a little bit of let-up, they took advantage of it,” Krzyzewski said.