June 15, 2024

NBA Prospect Nolan Traore Snubs Duke, John Calipari’s Arkansas for French Contract | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

BERLIN, GERMANY - MAY 26: Nolan Traore, #0 of U18 PFBB INSEP Paris in action during U18 Real Madrid vs U18 PFBB Insep Paris during the EB Adidas Next Generation Tournament Championship Game at Uber Eats Music Hall on May 26, 2024 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images)

David Grau/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

French guard Nolan Traore, seen as a potential lottery pick in the 2025 NBA draft, has decided to sign a two-year contract with Saint-Quentin of LNB Pro A (France’s top pro league) instead of heading to a Division I college basketball program, including pursuers Duke, Arkansas, Gonzaga and Alabama.

“Basketball-wise, it’s the best situation for me,” Traore told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony on Saturday. “I can play with a coach that I know, that gave me the confidence to play in the playoffs. I liked the first experience that I had with them. Playing in the FIBA Champions League [BCL] group stage next season will be exciting and was a big positive.”

Traore was also being recruited by Australian NBL, EuroLeague and EuroCup teams both in his home country and elsewhere, per Givony.

Ultimately, the prospect of saying close to home for now intrigued Traore.

“It was cool to have all these programs interested in me,” Traore told Givony. “I don’t take that for granted. It was a reward for all the work I’ve put in. I was happy to have all these options, but the possibility of staying close to my family was also important. They can visit me, and I can go home easily.”

Traore, 18, played seven games for Saint-Quentin last year, averaging 10.3 points and 5.4 assists in 19.6 minutes per outing.

He notably turned heads at the Nike Hoop Summit in April, though, posting 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and four assists in a showcase that included prep superstars such as Cooper Flagg, Ace Bailey and Dylan Harper.

“In the midst of all the excitement and outstanding individual performances, there might not have been a prospect that helped themselves more than France’s Nolan Traore,” scout Jam Hines wrote for Fan Nation.

Saint-Quentin’s gain is college basketball’s loss as a great prospect stays home in the meantime, but it won’t be too long before he’s playing on an NBA court.