By David Siegel
Do you remember taking the SAT exams when you were getting ready for college? There was that section of analogy questions that everybody hated.
Here is one of those for you.
As beach volleyball is to regular volleyball, then __________ is to regular basketball.
FIBA and USA Basketball are hoping the answer is 3×3 basketball, the game that many of us have not played in driveways and on playgrounds since, well, forever.
Beginning today, FIBA will hold the inaugural Women’s Senior 3×3 Basketball Championships in Athens, Greece. Twenty-four countries will be represented in the event, which FIBA plans on initially holding every two years, possibly moving it to an annual event.
The game is not that different from what we all played, with a few basic rule differences. Briefly, here are a few of the most important rules to know.
There are four players on the team, one being a substitute. There is a 12-second shot clock, so the game is constant fast break speed. Every change of possession must be “taken back” beyond the three-point line, which naturally is the FIBA distance. Games are played first to twenty-one, or ten minutes of time, whichever comes first, so it is in a team’s best interest to score quickly and play less time. A regular field goal is worth one point, a field goal beyond the three-point line is worth two points. If there is overtime, the first team to score two points wins. If a player is fouled while shooting they get one shot (one point) if it is a regular field goal attempt, two shots (two points) from beyond the three-point line. If you wish to know any other rules, they can be found on usabasketball.com.
On today’s Dishin & Swishin podcast, we are talking about the FIBA 3×3 world championships with the people involved in USA Basketball’s quest for gold in Athens. I was able to catch up with everyone prior to their departure for Athens.
First, you will meet Travis Johnson, the 3×3 Program Director for USA Basketball. Having worked previously as an event coordinator for the NBA, Johnson oversees all facets of USA Basketball’s men’s and women’s 3×3 programs, including 3×3 national teams and working with FIBA to grow the sport. Johnson explains the evolution of 3×3 basketball as a sport different from regular 5×5 basketball, why it is very important for FIBA, and consequently, USA Basketball. How the tournament will work, the selection process and elimination tournament held at the beginning of July, and more.
Then, you will get to hear from each member of Team USA on their foray into the world of 3×3 basketball, what it was like to get the call, whether they like the idea of 3×3 basketball becoming an international game, and more. Each is now or has been a college basketball star individually, and tremendously successful with their college teams.
Stanford’s Chiney Ogwumike is the most athletic of the group, a player comfortable inside and outside, the one true post player on the team.
Notre Dame’s Skylar Diggins is one of the most well-known players in the women’s game. A fierce competitor, Diggins has led the Irish to the NCAA finals with her combination of ball handling, passing and shooting skills.
Connecticut’s Bria Hartley is the second point guard on the team, another player comfortable scoring or distributing the ball. Hartley has shown repeatedly the ability to come up big in the biggest situations.
The “old lady” of the group, is former Connecticut forward-guard Ann Strother. When Maryland’s Alyssa Thomas was unable to play in the World Championships, USA Basketball was fortunate that Strother, now in nursing school but had participated in the national team tournament, was available and has actually scheduled a vacation for the time of the championships. So instead of Lake Tahoe with her boyfriend, Strother is in Greece looking for another gold medal.
Each of these players has won gold for USA Basketball before and anxious for more. You can hear in their voices how excited they are to get this opportunity. How often do you get to play for a gold medal, the first to be issued in the inaugural event, outdoors in a setting like Athens? They realize this is a once in a lifetime, and are not taking it lightly.
Enjoy the podcast!