INDIANAPOLIS (FIBA EuroBasket 2017) - Kevin Seraphin all but disappeared from the France national team set-up after playing for Les Bleus at the 2012 Olympics but now he's back.
With several years of NBA experience under his belt and his country looking for players to emerge and carry them at FIBA EuroBasket 2017 and beyond, Seraphin has returned to compete for his country.
He was big, strong and bursting with talent when international basketball last saw Seraphin. He's a better player now, he says to FIBA.basketball.
"I think in every aspect of my game," he said. "For example, I think I know how to better read the game now as I have gained experience, but also by playing in different kinds of basketball since I got to the NBA.
"I love to work on my game. I'm always eager to learn more and to try to be the best player I can be. This season (2016-17) was interesting as I started out as the fifth big man on the Pacers’ roster and I finished having to start some games and having plenty of minutes and an impact in the playoffs."
Seraphin has been making the most of his time this summer to not only get ready for France, but next season.
"I am only 27 years old and I still have plenty of dreams as a basketball player, both in the NBA and with the national team, so I am going to keep working hard to achieve my goals," he said.
In the very first tournament after Seraphin's last run with the national team, France won FIBA EuroBasket 2013 in Slovenia. Then at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, Nic Batum led France to a surprise third place finish.
At FIBA EuroBasket 2015, France hosted the event and lost to Spain in overtime in the Semi-Finals but bounced back to defeat Serbia in the Third Place Game.
If the team plays at his best level and has its best chemistry, we'd like to reach the Final and fight for top spot. Seraphin"It's great to see that the team won medals and a European title because it’s the result of the improvement of basketball and the national team in France in the last couple of years," he said. "France's clubs have been producing so many players and gradually, a culture of winning has been built at every level, from the clubs to the national team, which resulted in writing some of the most successful pages of Les Bleus’ history, recently.
"I am happy for the guys that won medals and titles, and I would like the dynamic to go this way for a long time. I want to help France keep making history."
It's going to be a big ask to do that this summer because the FIBA EuroBasket is shaping up to be a very competitive tournament once again. The French will play in Helsinki against Poland, Greece, Iceland, Slovenia and Finland.
"It's a very competitive group with plenty of talented teams," Seraphin said. "We'll need to be ready for the first game and play at our best level against every team. The EuroBasket is a great competition and I'd like to compete at that level again this summer."
So what can France hope to do, realistically?
"We have a lot of new players and some leaders that retired, but we have to be ambitious," Seraphin said. "I don’t like to start a competition saying that we are looking for a medal only.
"If the team plays at his best level and has its best chemistry, we'd like to reach the Final and fight for top spot. There is still plenty of time until the beginning of the competition, but we are going to be very ambitious, that's for sure."