Offensive leader of the French team at the World Cup with 21 points per game, Evan Fournier has "the instinct of the killer" and will use it if he inherits a last balloon to life at death in half final against Argentina, Saturday in Beijing (14:00 French time).
"You do not calculate anything, you're in the moment, you want to enjoy, to win your team.This pushes you to do actions that you would not necessarily try in the first quarter," says the back of Orlando Magic.
During the historic victory over the United States (89-79) on Wednesday, he was once again the best French scorer with 22 points. But he did not need to try one of these shoots on the edge of the razor he loves so much because the Blues have taken shelter by finishing with a 16 to 3.
This taste for borderline situations is not new. "When you're a kid, you dream watching NBA games, you see buzzer shots and when you go back to the playground you imitate." In your head, you do the count, +3, 2, 1+, and you shoot! "says the native of Saint-Maurice, a Parisian suburb, aged 26.
- More responsibilities -
"In those moments, the ball naturally comes into the hands of the right player, it was Tony (Parker) before, it's Evan now," said Captain Nicolas Batum, even though they're actually two among the Blues to be able to play this role, with Nando De Colo.
International since 2013, Fournier (69 caps) took a new dimension in the France team during this World Cup. Decisive in the first match against Germany (26 points), then again against Lithuania (24 points), he broke his record in blue (31 points) in the short defeat against Australia.
"I have more responsibilities this year, for sure, you have to do according to your situation in the group.In 2015, I could not have the same role as now," he says.
Fournier has all the panoply of the attacker. Big (2m), fast - "in the team it's me who goes faster after Andrew Albicy", he says - excellent in driving the ball, he is always aggressive towards the circle but can also find the three-point test (13 of 29 at the World Cup).
- A natural leader -
"I'm not an athletic bomb, but compared to my size I'm doing well, I know how to use my body and I have a quick first step, it's my strength in the one against one", he explains.
Essential on the field, Fournier also has a major role in the cloakroom and in the life of the group outside the floor. "He and Rudy (Gobert, his big friend), they are big mouths, we only hear them, but that's good!", Jokes Batum.
"Since I've been a kid I've always been like that, it's not something that's strong, I do not think I'm a great talker either, when I have something to say say. "
For Paul Lacombe, one of the last to arrive in blue, Fournier is "a natural leader". "There are people who have charisma and who do not need to talk too much for people to follow them, but he does not take anyone high, conversely he gathers everyone easily. in him and maybe that's why he manages to take the shots he takes in hot moments, because he knows we're all behind him, "says the back of Monaco.
He is the one who talks about "killer instinct" about Fournier. "You have it or you do not have it!" He says.
© 2019 AFP