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Bilal Coulibaly joins teammate Victor Wembanyama by declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft

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Bilal Coulibaly is joining Metropolitans 92 teammate Victor Wembanyama by declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft. The 6-foot-6 French prospect is a projected first-round pick. Coulibaly is expected to go at No. 26 overall, according to ESPN’s latest draft projections.

Meanwhile, Wembanyama is the projected No. 1 overall pick. “The NBA has always been a dream of mine, and now it’s a goal,” Coulibaly told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony. “It’s the natural next step in my evolution.” Coulibaly has scored in double figures in four of his last 10 games, per sources.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, Bilal Coulibaly is projected to go at No. 23 in the first round of this year’s draft. Check out which sportsbooks are showing greater odds of a late-20s selection.

“My defensive abilities allowed me to get on the court and impact the team in a positive way,” Bilal Coulibaly added. “I credit being part of the professional group early on, being integrated quickly into the group and having a coach as great as Vincent Collet guide me. My confidence grew as opportunities came.”

Coulibaly turns 19 years old this July. Through 22 games with the Metropolitans 92 of the LNB Pro A, the forward is averaging 4.2 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 16 minutes per game. Plus, he’s shooting 57.4% from the floor, 50% beyond the arc, and 55.6% at the foul line. Victor Wembanyama celebrated his 19th birthday in January.

French prospect Bilal Coulibaly is a projected first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, has a 7-foot-2 wingspan

With Espoirs Boulogne-Levallois of the LNB Espoirs, Coulibaly averaged 21.8 points, 6.4 boards, 2.5 assists, 2.5 steals, and 1.1 blocks in 16 starts of the 2022-23 season. To add to these statistics, the forward shot 53% from the field, 32.4% outside the arc, and 76.6% at the free throw line.

“I got better physically and technically,” Bilal Coulibaly mentioned. “I’m focusing on my jump shot, but really I work on everything to be as complete a player as I can. The key has been just being confident and implementing in games what I learn in practice.”

Coulibaly’s 7-foot-2 wingspan only adds to his floor-spacing mobility and perimeter defense. While the forward is not the best shot blocker compared to Victor Wembanyama, he’s still difficult to fool one-on-one. Pump fakes don’t work against him. Coulibaly also succeeds at off-the-ball plays.

Furthermore, the early-entry withdrawal deadline is June 12. Bilal Coulibaly has until this date to decide whether to keep his name in this year’s draft or wait until the 2024 draft as a potential top-10 pick. However, the 2023 draft has more talent on the board.


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James is a Basketball Insiders contributor. He earned his bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University. James enjoys watching sports and helping gamblers win money.

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