Report from the heart of LyonSO, the ASVEL satellite club

With Tony Parker being the president and majority shareholder of ASVEL, in 2014, coaching became a central issue in the ASVEL project. With training plans for Eastern European countries as a model, Lyon Villeurbanne opened the Tony Parker Academy in October 2019, in the Gerland district of Lyon. A kind of American campus where basketball is one discipline that is practiced among many others. Music, esports and chess are also offered. Talent Factory, a reference in Sen et MarnBasketball club Marne-la-Vallée has partnered with ASVEL, in a pre-training phase. Matthew Strazel and Killian Malawaya, for example, cycle between Ile-de-France and the Rhone River. Located three kilometers away as the crow flies from the academy, LyonSO recently became ASVEL’s “Satellite Club”. Introduced by TP as a “G-League” team, it particularly allows ASVEL hopefuls to take their first steps among the Pros. The first episode of our “ASVEL and training” series at LyonSO.

the first episode. ‘G-League Team’: Report from the heart of the LyonSO Space Club ASVEL

It’s barely 5:30 PM this evening on Saturday, April 8th. The amplifier is not in place yet, the futuristic VIP is hardly installed but they are there. On-ear headphones Elwin Njock and Victor Diallo – two of ASVEL’s three previous hopes – are starting to feel the ball. Without Kevin Kokila, injured in the ankle while receiving CEP Lorient, they chained him, shooting after exiting the screen, free throws, picking and shooting … when under the blows at 6:30 p.m., the residents of Lorient left the bus, Anthony Broussard , the assistant coach, from the locker room to go and take rebounds from two of his protects. The lively atmosphere at La Canopée is reminiscent of the Tony Parker Adéquat Académy into which the four have developed in recent years. “Elwin, Victor, Kévin and Anthony are just the tip of the iceberg,” LyonSO’s current General Manager Sami Idris summarizes about the partnership with ASVEL.

Like here against Caen in playoffs, the curtain is often full.
(Photo: Hugo Charles/Leonso)

In search of their first professional experience after their double championship – Trophée du Futur, Njock, Kokila and Diallo were the first to cycle between ASVEL and LyonSO. Anthony Broussard still works at ASVEL, responsible for individual development at LyonSO, and is the ideal mediator between the two structures. It helps “ASVELLiens” but also Théo Rey, from JL Bourg, or Hugo Colas, Lyon shaping producer, to further their development.

“I supervise them individually in the morning sessions and in the group sessions, I have the role of assistant coach, as Anthony Broussard identifies. There is a lot in common with the coach job in the Training Center and that is what makes this project exciting. Working at LyonSO also gives me perspective on what a youngster can be.” When he leaves a training center. I am considering my experience here and will use it in the future.” He will also be able to implement it at the beginning of the next school year as he will once again manage the ASVEL Under-21 team, following the departure of Pierre Parker from ASVIL to the United States.

Leon- so1651003533.jpegAsviel, Victor Diallo, Anthony Broussard, Elwin Ndjok, and Kevin Kokila are the “submerged face of the iceberg”.
(Photo: Hugo Charles/Leonso)

“Leonso and Asvel are the same club in the end”

“The goal is for our youth to focus on their progress, and for the structures to be places of reception, training and development,” says Pierre Graal, president of ASVEL since 2019, and director of basketball operations for Rhône between 2005 and 2011. Leonso and Asvel are ultimately the same club. Tony Parker with the professional team to explain that LyonSO was a G-League team. It was understood by everyone.”

Elwin Njock is the perfect illustration of this: the Lyon fullback/winger has an AS license, which allows him to play for ASVEL and LyonSO pros at the same time. A bit like the relationship between an NBA franchise and its own G-League team. We return to it. Regarding Njock, he first did all the preparations with TJ Parker’s group, before making three appearances at Betclic ELITE. Victor Diallo on loan to LyonSO, unlike Kevin Kokila who signed his first professional contract there, explains: “It’s a continuation of the years we spent at ASVEL. We’re still in the cocoon, we’re still in the same city.” A couple of months ago, the anecdote still made people smile in offices: When Tony Parker started getting involved in the project, he wondered in what area LyonSO was based…MISSED!

Impact on southwest Lyon

Look not near Lyon, nor at Villeurbanne, but at Pierre Bennett. A city of over 10,000 residents that is home to ASVEL’s new satellite club. In the middle of homes, in a municipal gymnasium, sandwiched between a college and a hospital center, LyonSO has established itself. Enclosure with glossy wooden floors, adjoining flooring, well-appointed weight room, brand new changing rooms… Few graduates can boast of having such infrastructure at NM1. The desks, along with the player entrance, are still prefabricated. As if LyonSO has grown too fast…it came off the ground in 2020 but already so small, La Canopée can only hold 1,200 people. It is precisely from this room that a young and homely atmosphere emanates. From volunteers to the audience for music. A different world, more disadvantaged than ASVEL, which is LyonSO’s identity.

This 100% male club has always wanted to offer an alternative model of coexistence with the Velorbanes locomotive. Introduced as the elite club in southwest Lyon, LyonSO is the result of a pooling of the resources of five clubs (Oullins Sainte Foy Basket, USM Pierre Bénite, Saint Genis Oullins Sainte Foy Féminin, Bale Saint Genis Laval and Tassin-Ecully), started in 2015-2016. This is a regional club cooperation (CTC) of 1,300 licensees and not a merger. In other words, each entity maintains a certain autonomy. In addition to Sami Idris as general manager, LyonSO can count on Karim Zaza as athletic director.

Leon- so1651004376.jpegSami Idris, a former professional player who has been skipped by the Lyon Su team, is one of the Thinking Heads of Project Lyon.
(Photo: Theo Quintard/BeBasket)

“We’ll never get down”

“We are not afraid that ASVEL will swallow us up,” notes Sami Idris, who was also a former professional player between 2000 and 2016 and converted to business engineering and then a researcher at a recruitment firm, before returning to basketball. We are independent, do well with ASVEL, and are thrilled To have a ‘club available.’ Leaders have enough to do with the Euroleague. There is no desire to be a snoozer in Club NM1: The relationship is healthy. Leon Villeurbanne brings us a real dimension but we will never go down before discussing the regional dimension, which is something Key to Lyon SO: “We want to offer youngsters from southwest Lyon and the region the possibility to play basketball at the best possible level. We involve the municipalities in our project, we want to become a major player in basketball in Lyon. And French basketball with our professional team. »

Promoted to NM1 thanks to a wildcard last summer, LyonSO is having a very good season. Moat Rynam’s men qualified for the top chicken role of National 1, but faced a more complicated second stage, before snatching the first leg of the final 1/8 against Caen (81-77), Sunday. “We know that there will not be the same energy, nor the same grandma effect next season. We will be vigilant, that is what Lyon president Herve Piqué-Gaultier promised, who has spared no effort in forming his team in the off-season. From all that you have seen, we In the top 5 structures of NM1 outside of basketball because apart from the sports staff, we have eight full-time employees.”

This partnership with ASVEL accelerates growth, and enables LyonSO to seek Pro B membership in the medium term. A route has not been set by management but the desire to go up as fast as possible is already there. “We have a heavy financial structure but from 1.3 million euros we can start discussing the rise, explains Herve Pique-Gaultier, who has seen his professional team’s budget go from 500,000 euros to 1 million euros in the off-season. We are ahead because we have 90% of the own money. , and more than 800,000 euros, but we must continue to benefit from it.”

Leon- so1651004647.jpegPresident Herve Pique Gaultier estimates that his club can play the height of 1.3 million euros.
(Photo: Hugo Charles/Leonso)

Being independent, and eager to move forward, LyonSO could use a little financial help from ASVEL. Tony Parker had also announced in June 2021, in the progress columns, that he wanted to consolidate ASVEL’s capital by up to 30%. Problem: The former Blues captain could not participate in both clubs. It is legally impossible. With Tony Parker at the helm, even previously forbidden marriages become possible.

For now, this partnership between one big European and one small European in southwest Lyon boils down to a transfer of skills, to a simple pooling of resources. Signatories to a three-year agreement (maximum term), the two entities set up a steering committee in September where Nordin Gharib, Pierre Grall and Anthony Brossard meet once a month on the ASVEL side, Herve Pique Gaultier, Sami Idris and Karim Zaza on the Lyon side.

ASVEL hopes are already involved in LyonSO:
“A great selling point for our project”

Collaborative work is performed in offices but also in the field. “Since January, we have been training together between LyonSO and the academy, here or there, when François Lamy was General Manager of ASVEL, explains Sami Idris, present from the foundations of the project. This is a big selling point for our project. ASVEL volunteers come to Canopée once a week and when we face Difficulty on time, especially on Sundays, we go to the academy where we have everything we need to train and do recovery.”

Leon Su 1651004957.jpegPromoted to NM1, Moat Rhennam and Lyonnais’ first season has exceeded expectations.
(Photo: Hugo Charles/Leonso)

If Saint-Chamond’s purely sporting partnership is not discontinued, ASVEL must step up its relationship with its space club. Especially since the coach, Moot Rinam, was already keen on having one or two other youngsters from ASVEL this year. Reflection, regarding future academics hosted at LyonSO, is in progress. Profiles like Killian Malwaya or Romain Parmentelot are possibilities among others.

Players, yes, but not only… Talent Factory, the academy also trains coaches in BPJEPS training. Who’s out there to imagine someone going through a TPAA take over one day? “Everything is possible, there is no limit, Sami Idris slips, even if Rynam’s favourite is guaranteed to continue the adventure at least until June 2023. The difference between the Espoirs world and the professional world in terms of betting, participation and level is still enormous. It has nothing to do with that, but you don’t know Start … “

From our Special Correspondent to Pierre Bennett,

Leon- so1651005135.jpegSoon the stands in Paul-Bert’s room find their takers in LyonSO.
(Photo: Theo Quintard/BeBasket)

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