New Zealand’s top 3x3 basketballers have a new challenge in their sights, following confirmation that both a New Zealand men’s and women’s team have qualified for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
It’s the first time the 3x3 format will be contested at the Commonwealth Games, with the New Zealand teams qualifying through an official FIBA points-based system - whereby the country’s top 50 players contribute points towards the national ranking with every win they earn in a FIBA-approved competition, including the 3x3 Cup, Youthtown 3x3 Quest Tour, and Seven Stars Invitation.
Basketball New Zealand Chief Executive Dillon Boucher says they’re thrilled to be involved in the 3x3 discipline's Commonwealth Games debut.
“3x3 is an extremely popular and fast-growing sport, both in New Zealand and around the world – as evidenced by its inclusion in the upcoming Commonwealth Games,” says Boucher.
“It’s something that BBNZ has put increased focus and resource into over the past several years, both via its community offerings – including the recently-announced Youthtown 3x3 Quest Tour – along with the 3x3 Cup and other FIBA-approved events.
“These events give our young players experience in this style of play and generate points towards the national 3x3 ranking. I’m excited to see what our 3x3 athletes can do next year on the world stage.”
One of those working towards selection to the team is 21-year-old Cantabrian, and Tall Fern, Lauryn Hippolite. She is excited at the possibility of being part of the 3x3 team in Birmingham next year.
“It’s just awesome to be a part of the process and to – hopefully – take that next step in international basketball, in one of the biggest sporting competitions in the world,” says Hippolite.
“It’s great that 3x3 has been included for the first time, and that New Zealand has qualified for it. It’s a sport that’s emerging very quickly; I only picked 3x3 up two years ago as something to help grow my 5 on 5 game, and now it’s probably my favourite way to play basketball!
“It’s been great to see the sport growing and to see other players growing into it, as they see it as another pathway to play international basketball. I think we have a great shot at advancing far in the game, we’ve got a lot of athletic, talented players coming through and I think we have the potential to do very well in the Games.”
New Zealand Olympic Committee CEO Kereyn Smith extended her congratulations to Basketball New Zealand.
“New Zealand has a proud basketball history at the Commonwealth Games and we’re extremely pleased that our men’s and women’s 3x3 teams have the potential to add to that legacy in Birmingham next year,” said Smith.
“We wish all the best to Basketball New Zealand and the athletes working towards nomination and selection to the NZ Team.”
The exciting new discipline of 3x3 basketball recently made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020 and is now on its way to the Commonwealth Games.
3×3 basketball is played with just one hoop on a half-court. The width of the court is exactly the same as the full-court game but differs in that the length is just 11 metres.
Fuelled with a fast-paced energy, the game lasts for only ten minutes with no half-time or quarters, making for an exhilarating watch with players on the move the entire time. Even after scoring, there are no breaks.
The game also has its very own 3×3 ball which is slightly smaller in size, to suit the faster speed of the game. The teams are made up of three players on the court, instead of the usual five, with one substitute on the bench.