There were no wide eyes for Kymany Houinsou at the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Qualifier Valencia. The LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne guard made his first endeavor into international basketball this weekend with the start of a journey that promises to be literally "adventurous".
The 1.91-meter Houinsou did not act like he was the youngest player in Valencia; the 14-year-old averaged 5.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 1.3 steals through the first three games of the event.
"It's exciting, but there is no age for me. It's just competition," said Houinsou, who was one of four players on the ASVEL roster born in 2003 or later.
Playing against older competition is nothing new for Houinsou. In 2017, he helped ASSM Pfastatt win the French U15 national championship - at just 13 years of age.
"I was very happy and very proud of my team because nobody expected us to win," he said of the crown.
That title came under the tutelage of veteran coach Jean Luc Monschau, who won two ProA crowns with SLUC Nancy, but decided in 2014 to move down to coach youth basketball after nearly 30 years of coaching professionally.
Houinsou chose this past August to move from Pfastatt near Mulhouse to Lyon and play for ASVEL.
"It's exciting because for me it's the best club in France and it's Tony Parker's club, so we have the best players in France along with CFBB," Houinsou said.
The athletic playmaker did not stay at the U15 level with ASVEL, but has played all season instead with the club's team in the U18 league. He knew things in Valencia would not be easy.
"I had to be ready to play on the court because the guys are older so I needed to be ready," said Houinsou, who has averaged 6.0 points over eight games in the French U18 league.
Regarding what he wanted to do for ASVEL in Valencia, he said: "Just do what you have to do, bring energy, play defense, scoring, passing and play with heart."
Basketball has been part of Houinsou's life for a long time already. He recalled going to games of his father Sam Houinsou in the lower leagues in the Mulhouse area and playing since he was 3 years old.
Houinsou’s earliest role models were his father and Michael Jordan. "My dad showed me tapes of Michael Jordan," said Houinsou, whose newer role models are Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
Houinsou’s father hails from the West African country of Benin and came to France when he was 14 years old. His mother arrived in France from the Caribbean region of Guadeloupe when she was 3 years old.
When looking ahead to the bright future that Houinsou has, it seems only fitting that his first name is Kymany, which has African origins and means "adventurous traveler".
"Yeah, that describes me," the composed youngster said.
Houinsou really doesn't have to look far for role models for his next step. He only needs to look at ASVEL's top team where 17-year-old Theo Maledon has already averaged 7.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in the ProA and 5.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists in the 7DAYS EuroCup.
"I want that too. He’s one of my role models," said Houinsou, who envisions himself as a tall point guard down the road. "I want to play in the French national team and be a professional player and one of the main guys at ASVEL.
Houinsou will celebrate his 15th birthday on January 6, meaning he is just about 11 months younger than Luka Doncic was when he debuted in the ANGT in L'Hospitalet in the 2014-15 season.
"Everything is possible," was Houinsou’s response to that historical comparison.
Everything is possible looking ahead for the "adventurous traveler".