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Spurs present Victor Wembanyama with Rookie of the Year trophy at San Antonio College planetarium

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Spurs present Victor Wembanyama with Rookie of the Year trophy at San Antonio College planetarium
Sport

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Spurs present Victor Wembanyama with Rookie of the Year trophy at San Antonio College planetarium

2024-05-12 05:16 Last Updated At:05:20

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs presented Victor Wembanyama with the NBA Rookie of the Year trophy on Saturday at the planetarium on the campus of San Antonio College — an appropriate venue, perhaps, for a player nicknamed “The Alien.”

The 7-foot-3 center from France was a unanimous selection, the sixth player in league history to receive every first-place vote for an award that's been handed out since 1953. He joined Houston’s Ralph Sampson (1984), the Spurs' David Robinson (1990), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin (2011), Portland’s Damian Lillard (2013) and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns (2016).

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San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy sits on table during an NBA basketball press conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The San Antonio Spurs presented Victor Wembanyama with the NBA Rookie of the Year trophy on Saturday at the planetarium on the campus of San Antonio College — an appropriate venue, perhaps, for a player nicknamed “The Alien.”

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, center, watches videos with local children before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, center, watches videos with local children before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, left, greets fans before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, left, greets fans before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks to media after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks to media after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

He is the third San Antonio player to win the award, following Robinson and Tim Duncan (1998).

The Spurs finished 22-60 this season, matching their record in 2022-23, but there is plenty of optimism for the future after Wembanyama lived up to his potential as the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

“Of course, I want to win as soon as possible, and I want the team results to be there, but I didn’t expect to be champions in my first year,” Wembanyama said. “This is one of the representations of our progression throughout the year and the efforts we all made on the court.”

Wembanyama became the only rookie in league history to average at least 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 3.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game.

“You’ve represented the Spurs, you’ve represented yourself, you’ve represented France, everybody,” Robinson said in a tribute video. “Great job. I couldn’t be more proud of you.”

After tying a league record with 22 straight postseason appearances from 1998 to 2019 under Robinson and Duncan, San Antonio has missed the playoffs in five straight seasons. But Wembanyama feels fortunate to play for a franchise that has won five NBA titles and has one of the league's most respected coaches in Gregg Popovich.

“What I know is that there is a difference between us, the Spurs, the way we play and 90 percent of the teams in the league,” Wembanyama said. “I feel like we involve all players on the court. We have this will to share the ball and I can see that the coaches have this will to keep developing that and not become an iso-ball team, for example. I’m glad this is something that the Spurs have done for years.”

After receiving the award, Wembanyama stuck around with a group of children to watch a presentation on dark matter.

“I like these kinds of questions,” Wembanyama said. “Dark matter is a mass we can’t see, but we know it’s there because it’s got influence on gravitational pulls and the speed of gravitational orbits in every galaxy. Its presence inside galaxies is five times higher than regular seeable matter, so it’s a huge mystery. We can’t see it. We can’t observe it, but we can observe its influence. This is dark matter. Very sci-fi.”

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy sits on table during an NBA basketball press conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy sits on table during an NBA basketball press conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, center, watches videos with local children before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, center, watches videos with local children before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, left, greets fans before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama, left, greets fans before receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks to media after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

San Antonio Spurs' Victor Wembanyama speaks to media after receiving his 2023-24 NBA Rookie of the Year trophy during an NBA basketball news conference, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Darren Abate)

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Shaqiri scores stunning goal in Switzerland's 1-1 draw with Scotland at Euro 2024

2024-06-20 09:28 Last Updated At:09:30

COLOGNE, Germany (AP) — “Shaq” did it again.

At the age of 32 and having left top-flight European soccer behind to play in MLS, Xherdan Shaqiri is back on the international stage and back scoring again.

His stunning first-half strike secured a 1-1 draw for Switzerland against Scotland at Euro 2024 on Wednesday.

It is the sixth-straight major international tournament in which Shaqiri has scored, dating to the World Cup in 2014.

That’s three World Cups in a row and now three European Championships for the Chicago Fire forward. According to UEFA he is the first player to achieve that feat.

“He proved tonight that he lives and breathes for moments like these,” Switzerland coach Murat Yakin said.

Shaqiri rolled back the years with a first-time curling effort from about 20 meters out at Cologne Stadium.

Scotland led from the 13th minute when Scott McTominay’s shot took a wicked deflection off Fabian Schar to beat Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

But Shaqiri pounced on Anthony Ralston’s loose pass in the 26th to even the match with a left-footed shot into the top corner and past Scotland keeper Angus Gunn.

“If that chance falls to any other player in the Swiss team, it’s not a goal,” Scotland manager Steve Clarke said. “You knew when it was rolling towards Shaqiri it was destined for the back of the net. He’s a top, top player, so you don’t give top, top players that kind of chance.”

Shaqiri’s career has seen him play for some of Europe’s most iconic teams, including Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Liverpool. He joined the Fire two years ago, but in that time has continued to produce for his country on the biggest stage.

“Shaq always gives everything in training,” Switzerland defender Manuel Akanji said. “I don’t know how many other players are able to score that goal.”

The draw leaves Switzerland on four points, second in Group A behind Germany and likely to advance to the round of 16.

Germany became the first nation to advance after a 2-0 win over Hungary earlier in the day.

Scotland’s hopes of making the knockout round depend on its final game against Hungary on Sunday and results elsewhere. No team has failed to advance from the group stage with four points.

Both teams had chances to win the game.

The Swiss should have taken the lead just before the hour mark when Dan Ndoye turned Kieran Tierney on the edge of the box. With just goalkeeper Angus Gunn to beat, Ndoye fired wide of goal.

Grant Hanley then headed against the post from a Scotland free kick and Switzerland’s Zeki Amdouni headed wide at the far post late on.

Scotland has never advanced beyond the group stage of a World Cup or Euros on 11 previous attempts.

But repeated disappointment doesn’t seem to dampen optimism among its fans, who filled Cologne’s square before the game.

Swiss supporters were out in numbers, too, creating a raucous atmosphere in the stadium.

It was certainly a more enjoyable evening for Scotland’s fans than the opening game of the Euros — a 5-1 loss to Germany.

“It was what we expected. It was a good reaction to a disappointing night. We’re still alive in the tournament,” Clarke said.

Goals from Jamal Musiala and İlkay Gündoğan made it two wins from two for host Germany after victory against Hungary and ensured there would be no repeat of its group stage exit from the 2022 World Cup.

Albania substitute Klaus Gjasula scored in the fifth minute of stoppage time to hold World Cup semifinalist Croatia to a 2-2 draw in Group B. Gjasula’s own goal, just four minutes after entering the game in the second half, had looked like handing Croatia the win until his late strike.

James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Ricardo Rodriguez, right, fouls Scotland's Billy Gilmour during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Scotland's Che Adams reacts during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri and team mates celebrate their side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn fails to save a shot by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri scores his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri, left, celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's Scott McTominay celebrates after Switzerland's Fabian Schar scored an own goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Scotland's goalkeeper Angus Gunn is unable to stop a shot for a goal by Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Peter Klaunzer/Keystone via AP)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Switzerland's Xherdan Shaqiri celebrates his side's equalising goal during a Group A match between Scotland and Switzerland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Cologne, Germany, Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

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