The Australian men’s and women’s 3×3 teams have been announced in preparation for the FIBA 3×3 World Cup qualifying tournament to be held in Puerto Rico from May 4-5, while the squads for the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup have also been released.
The World Cup qualifying tournament runs for two days, with eight nations competing for just three places in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup to be held in Amsterdam in June.
Dave Biwer is set to return as coach of the men’s team, while Damon Lowery will coach the women’s side. Matt Patton is set to take over for the 3×3 Asia Cup taking place from May 22-26.
The squads announced for the Asia Cup are subject to change, with the coaching staff also taking the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle in Darwin into selection considerations.
The World Cup qualifier is the exciting first step in a series of major 3×3 events over the next few years including the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Commonwealth Games.
The men’s side for the qualifying tournament features a pair of top-ranked 3×3 players, with Andrew Steel (number one ranked men’s Australian player) and Tom Wright (number two ranked men’s Australian player) leading the way, while two NBL veterans in Tim Coenraad and Greg Hire will round out the team.
Bec Cole (number one ranked women’s Australian player) and Alice Kunek (number two ranked women’s Australian player) lead a star-studded women’s team into the tournament, with WNBL championship player Keely Froling joining them alongside one of either Maddie Garrick or Marena Whittle.
“I’m very optimistic that both the men and the women can get through the top three in Puerto Rico to qualify for the World Cup,” Biwer said.
“With more and more players playing the sport, the talent has increased.
“A couple of years ago we were walking into events trying to read up on the rules; nowadays we’ve got seasoned players like Andrew Steel, Tom Wright, Bec Cole and Maddie Garrick who know the game inside-out.”
The National 3×3 Camp held in Melbourne earlier this month, along with the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle events, have both been crucial in selecting the athletes for the squads.
Multiple players have had success in the Pro Hustle events so far, with Bec Cole, Keely Froling and Marena Whittle all enjoying first-place spoils with the Spectres iAthletic at the Melbourne Pro Hustle. Carlie Smith and Anneli Maley were members of the Peninsula Bobcats team that won the women’s bracket at the second Pro Hustle in Geelong.
Lucas Walker was a member of the successful Stateside Sports team in the men’s Geelong Pro Hustle.
Meanwhile, Alice Kunek has not played 3×3 basketball since last May. However, she is set to make her return to the format at this weekend’s Pro Hustle event in Darwin after she returned from playing in Poland with Energa Toruń.
Pending qualification to the 3×3 World Cup, the squad that will compete at that tournament will be picked on form from both the qualifying tournament and the Asia Cup, while the door will be left ajar to any players showing strong form back home in Australia.
The 3×3 World Cup Qualifiers athletes:
|Tim Coenraad||Rebecca Cole|
|Greg Hire||Keely Froling|
|Andrew Steel||Alice Kunek|
|Tom Wright||Maddie Garrick (Pending Availability)|
|Marena Whittle (Pending Availability)|
The 3×3 Asia Cup Squads:
|Tim Coenraad||Rebecca Cole|
|Greg Hire||Maddie Garrick|
|Owen Odigie||Alice Kunek|
|Andrew Steel||Anneli Maley|
|Lucas Walker||Carlie Smith|
|Tom Wright||Hanna Zavecz|