Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama’s shocking true feelings on rookie year amid ROY-worthy season

Though he surpassed everyone else’s extremely high expectations, Spurs phenom Victor Wembanyama admits he fell short of his.

Victor Wembanyama next to a Spurs logo in front of Spurs colors

It appears to be a mere formality. In fact, the better question appears to be, will Victor Wembanyama be the unanimous Rookie of the Year? Also a finalist for the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year, though nowhere near the favorite, the generational talent is expected to run away with the ROY award.

We all expect Wembanyama to hoist the Kia Rookie of the Year trophy, mainly because he exceeded impossibly high preseason expectations. But whether he surpassed his own expectations is a different matter.

“Not really,” the 20-year-old phenom answered when asked that very question.

“Maybe it’s the case, but it’s not how I feel. Every day I try to push harder and to do more – more achievements, more records, more wins. But the next day I always tell myself that I didn’t do enough and to push me even more.”

Victor Wembanyama’s expectations

San Antonio Spurs forward Victor Wembanyama (1) throws a ball to fans after the final game of the season against the Detroit Pistons at Frost Bank Center.Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Wembanyama’s rookie statistics are beyond impressive. He led all rookies with 21.4 points and 10.6 rebounds and topped the entire league in blocks with 3.6 per contest. By comparison, his biggest rival for Rookie of the Year, and throughout the season, Chet Holmgren, averaged 16.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks.

Yet, still…

“My first impression isn’t that I exceeded any expectations,” the sensation from France said. “It’s that I should have done more.”

He followed with a simple and succinct, “Yeah,” when asked if his expectations of himself are higher than what others expect of him.

Include his head coach in that crowd of others.

“He was much more malleable and accepting, expanding his role, expanding his game both defensively and offensively,” Gregg Popovich told ClutchPoints regarding whether his star center exceeded whatever he may have hoped for before the two teamed up.

So individually spectacular was Wembanyama this past season that not not only did he amaze with what he’d do on the court, but seemingly every week. This isn’t hyperbole, he’d put up the kind of stat lines we hadn’t seen in quite some time, if ever.

Wemby’s expectations of San Antonio

It turns out San Antonio didn’t match the 7-foot-4 center’s expectations either.

“There’s a couple of things,” Wembanyama responded when asked how the city differed from what he might’ve thought upon arrival.

“The impression that most Europeans and French people have coming from abroad to Texas is we think more of desert and cowboys. It’s much more than that. It’s dumb and it’s cliche’ but, as foreigners, we’re never right. Early on, I realized much more than that, of course.”

It’s an initial stereotype that also extended to those closest to him.

“That’s the impression my family always had. ‘It’s not like in the movies.’”

A couple of times since he was drafted by the Spurs, including on the night of the NBA’s Rising Stars Game during the All-Star break, he’s publicly worn a Texas staple: a cowboy hat.

“I’ll wear it again,” the transplanted Texas exclaimed during his end of the season availability with the media.

In a time of expectation, Wembanyama seems fairly certain of that.

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