When I first watched Andrew Albicy in the 2009 FIBA Under 19 World Championships in New Zealand I thought he was a nice “little” player, but with very little shot of making the NBA. Andrew is 5 foot 9 inches tall, and while it is difficult to make the NBA in general, there only a select few sub 6-footers that are able to defeat the odds. In fact, I can’t recall an under 6-foot international player ever making the NBA who never played organized ball in the US.
Australia’s Patty Mills, drafted in 2009 by the Portland TrailBlazers played his college ball at Saint Mary’s. While odds may be against him, there is hope, the aforementioned Mills, Nate Robinson, Ish Smith, Ty Lawson and Aaron Brooks are all successful NBA players and in college Washington’s Isaiah Thomas and UConn’s Kemba Walker are both considered NBA prospects.
With that in mind I watched him play well in 2009, and mentioned him to my colleagues but never thought he had a legitimate shot. Then in 2010 he blossomed, he was named MVP of the 2010 FIBA under 20 years old Championships where he won gold, and then was chosen as replacement for the injured Rodrigue Beaubois on the French National team during last summer’s world Championships in Turkey.
This opportunity allowed scouts and talent evaluators to observe him against the world’s best competition, to demonstrate that while he is short in stature, he is not short on talent. He was the offensive spark plug in the victory against Spain scoring 13 points in 26 minutes. In this game he faced NBA level talent in Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, and JC Navarro and did not blink. While there are still some areas in his game (most notably his 41% shooting inside the 3 point line), he is an excellent 3 point and free throw shooter, has played extensive minutes as a point guard in club (2nd year in ProA at Paris Levallois) and at the international level, and has more importantly NBA point guard speed and fearlessness. I recently had a chance to interview Andrew to discuss his game, his experience last summer and the upcoming draft.
NBADraft.net: Andrew many of our readers do not know much about you. Can you give us a brief summary of your upbringing? Where did you grow up? In a country dominated by soccer how and when did you get introduced to basketball? How / when did you first get invited to be part of the French national basketball program?
Andrew Albicy: I lived my entire life in the Paris region, more precisely in 77 (department in Paris region) . I’m from a large family (three brothers and a sister) who has loved playing sports. As a child I tried a little bit of everything, football (soccer), handball, ping pong any kind of sport except … basketball! Then one day my brother’s friends invited me to a basketball practice, I tagged along, The practice went well, and the next thing I know the coach escorts us home. He met my mom and asked her to sign me up for the team. I have always been surrounded by quality people and that is why I am here today. My coaches have always pushed me, putting me against older and better competition. When I was 15 years old, I was the only 1990 born to play in the Pro A 21 and under team that receives a serious amount of playing time, which helped me to be selected for the Under 16 French team.
NBADraft.net: With the French U-19 and U-20 team you have had the opportunity to play against some of the best international competition in the world including (Pappas, Dellavedova, Prostran) how did these competitions help in your development?
Andrew Albicy: Every year the regular season conditioned me for the French National program, preparing me to play against these great players. L’Equipe de France is very important to me because I want to play at the top level against the best players. And the opportunity of facing these type of players allowed me to see my weaknesses and my strengths, and thus gain experience and confidence for the seasons that followed.
NBADraft.net: Last summer was quite busy for you, you played in front of NBA scouts at the Treviso Eurocamp, you were MVP of the Europe Under-20 Championship and won gold, and played in the Fiba World Championships. Can you tell us a little about these memories?
Andrew Albicy: It was a summer full of emotion, being European Champions is already a huge thing; it is my favorite memory in addition to being named MVP. Then to be asked and to participate in the world championship on the national team, which is what I dreamed since I was little kid, to face great players is all that I have ever wanted. I want to play against the top level every day.
NBADraft.net: You replaced Rodrigue Beaubois late on the French National team, were you surprised that you were part of French National team coach Vincent Collet’s rotation given how much younger you were and how late you made the team?
Andrew Albicy: Yes I was surprised because after my championship of Europe I was already on vacation taking some time off and I get the call that changed my summer plans, but it was with great pleasure that I joined the French national team. I was very surprised to play as many minutes as I did against Spain, Coach Vincent Collet put his trusted me, I seized my opportunity and did the best I could. Even with limited playing time, I was ready to play and give everything I had because for me just to be part of this team meant so much.
NBADraft.net: Overall how did your time with the French National team make you grow as a player?
Andrew Albicy: Being on L’Equipe de France allowed me to gain confidence and have a more important role on my professional team.
NBADraft.net: This season at Paris Levalois you have increased your 3 point to (46%) and free throw percentage to (80%) while increasing your scoring to 11.4 ppg, what do you attribute this to?
Andrew Albicy: I believe it’s thanks to the confidence I gained over the summer and the work I put into my game. I believe work is the most important aspect in the development of a player
NBADraft.net: Being under 6 foot, what can you bring to an NBA team to make up for this disadvantage?
Andrew Albicy: To me, being small has never been a disadvantage, I compensate with my speed, my reaction time, my defense and my mind. I can bring my energy, my defense, my vision of play and my leadership to NBA teams.
NBADraft.net: Is there a current or former NBA player you pattern your game off?
Andrew Albicy: I have tried to pattern my game to Chris Paul’s ever since his rookie season.
NBADraft.net: Do you plan on being an early entrant for the 2011 NBA draft?
Andrew Albicy: Yes, clearly.
NBADraft.net: How important is playing in the NBA for you?
Andrew Albicy: It’s very important because that’s the level that I want to reach. The best players are in the NBA and I want to be among the best in the world.
NBADraft.net: Do you think a potential work stoppage in the NBA will have any affect on international players entering the draft?
Andrew Albicy: It’s possible, but it is unclear how this will all shake out …
NBADraft.net: If you had one word or sentence to describe your game what would it be?
Andrew Albicy: Energy
NBADraft.net: Is there anything else you would like to say to the NBADraft.net audience?
Andrew Albicy: I hope this article has enabled you to learn more about me. This is really a dream, a great pleasure to be part of the draft choices and I will give everything I can to not disappoint those who put their trust in me and those who support me.