FIBA took the initial step in their new initiative this past summer by implementing a successful 3-on-3 in the youth Olympics held in Italy.
Just like every other country, it was the first time that Canada suited up two teams in 3-on-3 competition. The men’s team featured Dyshawn Pierre, Marko Pirovic, Patrick Steeves and Jordan Whyte, while the women’s team included Taijah Campbell, Paige Crozon, Isidora Purkovic, and Dakota Whyte.
“The goal is to increase participation in basketball using this platform that would attract more participants from a recreational level all the way to the elite level,” explained Ron Yeung, Canada Basketball’s Manager for Domestic development.
Not only does 3-on-3 increase participation on a local level, but also provides the smaller countries with the ability to field a respectable team, due to the nature of the game.
Essentially, all that is needed is a minimum of three highly skilled players in order to compete at a high level whereas in regular 5-on-5, a full roster with depth is necessary for success.
“With 3-on-3 it’s different in the sense that it is more skill-based, all three players on the court would have to be very skilled. You don’t necessarily have to have a deep roster,” said Yeung.
The results over the summer proved that it’s anybody game, as only one of the four teams that reached the championship games (men and women) are currently ranked in the FIBA top 10 rankings.
New Zealand defeated Bulgaria in the mens championship, while Spain (# 5-ranked) ended the host team’s run (Italy).
As for Canada, the men managed to finish seventh overall defeating USA, while the women placed eighth in a loss the Czech Republic.
“It’s anybody’s game, it comes down to the chemistry with the teammates,” explained Yeung.
The 3-on-3 model puts focus on developing fundamental skills and a high-speed environment as each player will have more touches with the ball.
“It was great! The ball was exciting, it was really fast paced and the atmosphere was great,” said Jordan Whyte, a participant on the Canadian men’s team.
With 60 teams from 40 countries and such a positive response, expect 3-on-3 basketball to resurface as a phenomenon moving forward, while FIBA aims for the 2016 Olympics!