Kevin Seraphin hopeful to play at EuroBasket this summer

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Indiana Pacers big man Kevin Seraphin is hopeful to represent France at this summer’s Eurobasket but he hasn’t spoken to the FFBB (French Basketball Federation) just yet.

The 27-year-old, who is in London with the Pacers as they face the Denver Nuggets at the O2 Arena on Thursday night is understandably focussing on his club duties but has said that he will make contact with the federation during the season.

“I haven’t spoken to the French federation yet but it’s something I am going to do at some point,” Seraphin said.

“Being honest, it’s a step-by-step thing but I am hopeful to play for France this summer. However, my focus is with the Pacers and I am waiting to see where I stand in regards to the rotation and where I stand here and see where I might be with the national side moving forward.”

France are drawn in Group A this summer where they will play Slovenia, Greece, Iceland and hosts Finland in Helsinki, which will prove tricky for Les Bleus if they wish to progress further at Eurobasket in order to secure an automatic spot at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.

The national team waved goodbye to veteran talisman Tony Parker at the Rio Olympics last summer as he announced his international retirement, leaving as Eurobasket’s all-time leading scorer and being able to capture the championship in Ljubljana in 2013, something that had eluded him since 2001.

Kevin Seraphin last represented France at the 2012 Olympics in London. Photo: FFBB

But Seraphin, who last suited up for the French at the London Olympics in 2012 spent the summer of 2013 with the Washington Wizards, working out in order to move up the rotation, rightfully thinking about his club career first. however, the big man looks back on that year with slight regret.

“It was great to see my country win Eurobasket and admittedly there was guilt for me not being there,” Seraphin admits. “But I missed out for the right reasons, I wanted to establish myself in the NBA having moved from the French league and this was my only option.

“Also, from a team-mate point of view, watching Tony Parker win a Eurobasket title was great for him. He was such a role model to me and from the beginning when I came to the national side in 2011 from the under-20s, he was pushing to stay hungry and remind everyone why I am in the NBA and he pushed me to be better.

“But Tony had that influence with everyone in the France locker room, he was an example for all of us and it will be different without him, for sure.”

FIBA

Tony Parker scored 18 points in a loss to Australia at the Rio 2016 Olympics. Following the defeat, he announced his retirement. Photo: FIBA.

Seraphin though prefers to live in the present day as he prepares to face the Nuggets at the O2 Arena on Thursday night where the annual regular season clash in the UK attracts the major British-based celebrities, most notably Premier League footballers, boxers and music icons.

But the team, Seraphin says, is focussed on leaving London with a win, which would extend their winning streak to six games and despite the different environment, the team is thrilled to represent the NBA in the British capital.

“We are happy to be here, of course, but admittedly even though we arrived earlier in the week, we are still tired and trying to adjust to the time difference,” he says.

“The mood hasn’t changed though. It’s still good, everyone is happy. We’ve been practicing hard as we always do but we are feeling that little bit more afterwards because we’re working through our jet-lag.”