Coach Pascal Donnadieu has seen many players come and go in his decades on the Nanterre 92 bench. The roster he will guide in the 2020-21 season brings five completely new faces as well as two more who return to the team after some time away. Point guard Chris Warren rejoins Nanterre for a third stint after last wearing the team's colors in 2017. Forward Brian Conklin also returns after playing on that same 2016-17 squad, which won the French Cup and the FIBA Europe Cup. Dwight Buycks and Tyler Stone reinforce the team after playing abroad and Ivan Fevrier, Lucas Dussoulier and Alpha Kaba come aboard from French teams.
Everything starts with Warren, who is an extension of Donnadieu on the floor and threatens defenses as both a scorer and a set-up man. Buycks returns to France for the first time since the 2012-23 campaign, in which he was the French All-Star Game MVP. He has since proven himself as an elite scorer in China and has had two stints in the EuroLeague two. Alongside Warren, Buycks can be counted on to put up big numbers. Shooting guard Isaia Cordinier is the only returning starter from last season's Nanterre squad, during which he led the team in steals (1.4 spg.), was second in assists (2.9 apg.) and third in scoring (13.4 ppg.). Damien Bouquet played a key role off the bench last season, his first at the highest European levels. Florian Fortas, 20, will play his first season with Nanterre's senior side after playing a big role at the U21 level in the last two years.
Conklin, who has two seasons of EuroCup experience, is an interior force despite standing 1.98 meters. Stone heads into his EuroCup debut after a strong season in Italy as one of the league's best rebounders. He appears poised to have a big role on the team. Fevrier, 21, is one of the top players his age in France and has an excellent shooting touch for a power forward. Kaba anchors the defense coming off a season in which he was second in the French League in rebounds and fifth in blocks. He has also played two seasons in the EuroCup, both for ASVEL Villeurbanne. Dussoulier will look to carve out a key role off the bench at the forward position after proving himself in the French second division. The 2.19-meter Victor Wembanyama is only 16 years old and already played briefly in the EuroCup last season. Though Coach Donnadieu will surely want to bring him along slowly, his vast potential makes him someone who can continue already contribute now.
PLAYER TO WATCH
The Nanterre roster features a lot of scorers who may share in most of the headlines, but behind the team's success, you can be sure to find Isaia Cordinier. The shooting guard, who will only reach 24 years of age during the coming season, has shown marked improvements as an all-around contributor from year to year and could be poised for a break into superstardom. Cordinier has improved his scoring, rebounding, assists and steals in each of his last four professional seasons and ranked fifth in the French League last season in performance index rating at 16.2. He has a knack for drawing fouls and shot 86.7% from the foul line in all competitions. Inconsistency plagued Cordinier at times last season—he had three EuroCup games in which he scored 6 points or less in the EuroLeague and five with at least 16. Few are the players who can impact a game in so many different ways and if Cordinier takes another step forward this season and becomes more consistent, stardom could be in his future.
Nanterre checks in for its fourth EuroCup campaign – and its third in a row. Though it has come close, the club has not advanced past the regular season in either of the previous two seasons. The key to overcoming that hurdle will be seeing how quickly a mostly-new roster can come together. Coach Donnadieu has paired two of his former players at the club alongside the few returnees from last season, talented promotions from the junior ranks and carefully-selected new signings. If it all comes together quickly, Nanterre has the weapons on both ends of the floor to be a threat and to finally snap its spell and advance.