FCP logo

Full Court Press

FCPrep logo

Saturday, July 20, 2019

US Teens to Participate in First-Ever FIBA Invitational 3x3 Youth World Championships

Article Lead Image

Image Caption: As part of its promotion of 3x3 basketball, FIBA has introduced a new logo for the 3x3 game, a symmetrical adaption of the numerals 3x3, and is previewing a new website, 3x3planet.com, which is expected to launch officially in the near future.

Image Credit: Courtesy FIBA Media Central

By Lee Michaelson

FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, will continue its push of 3x3 basketball with the first-ever Invitational 3x3 Youth World Basketball Championships to be held in Rimini, Italy, from September 9-11, and USA Basketball will be there, fielding both boys and girls teams composed of athletes 18 years old and younger.

Representing the United States girls 3x3 team will be four members of the 2011 USA U16 National Team who just recently helped the U.S. claim gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in June: Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, GA),  Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S. /Owensboro, Ky.),  Linnae Harper (Whitney M. Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.), and Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S. /Fishers, Ind.).

According to FIBA, the 3-on-3 format is the most popular variation of the game played by youngsters and adults on playgrounds throughout the world. FIBA also sees the 3x3 game both as a learning tool and a form of “basic training” for future 5-on-5 players and as a means to popularize the sport worldwide.

In the case of women’s basketball, what FIBA hasn’t said publicly, but was a clear theme underlying its promotion of the concept during the International Congress on Women’s Basketball held concurrently concurrently with the 2010 FIBA Women’s World Basketball Championships in Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, last September, is that the 3x3 format also holds the potential for equalizing the international playing field in the face of U.S. stranglehold on the 5-on-5 women’s game.

Certainly, the U.S. can stumble, as it did in Brazil in 2006, falling to Russia in the semifinal and ultimately settling for the bronze. And equally true, Australia and Russia routinely give the U.S. a run for its money, and other nations, particularly in Eastern Europe, are proving themselves increasingly strong adversaries. Yet one of several key factors that has helped maintain U.S. dominance of the sport, especially on the women’s side, has been depth: While other nations boast teams with individual stars whose skills equal, and arguably even exceed, those of the best U.S. National Team members, there is no country that can field a a team with the talent-level, one through 12, of the American roster as a whole.

In the fast-paced 3x3 game, there is no place to hide a weak player. However, at the same time, with just three players on the court and one sub on the bench, the 10-minute-long 3x3 game does not place the same premium on depth as its 40-minute 5x5 counterpart. Some are hoping that this will translate not just to the growth of the sport as a whole, but also to a more intense and exciting level of international competition and the emergence of new basketball powers.

The jury is still out on that one. When the 3x3 game made its debut at last year’s inaugural Youth Olympics in Singapore, it was China, not Team USA, who took home the gold. but it was the usual women’s basketball suspects—Australia and the U.S.—who filled out the medal stands, after the Aussies edged out the Yanks, 25-23, in the semifinals. Meanwhile, all of the African competitors (Mali, Ivory Coast and Angola) finished in the bottom tiers, alongside basketball newcomers Singapore and Vanuatu.

Still, whatever the agenda, FIBA’s emphasis on 3x3 ball has proved to be wildly popular internationally. The introduction of the sport at the Youth Olympics was considered a success, and FISU has announced its intention to include 3x3 competition at the next two installments of the World University Games, Serbia 2012 and Brazil 2014. Over the past year, FIBA has been holding workshops and test events to expose the sport, trucking equipment and providing coaching at well attended tournaments in Slovenia and Russia as well in remote Caribbean islands such as the Turks and Caicos.

One of the most important contributions of FIBA’s 3x3 push, according to Anton Besfamilny, the vice president of the Street Basketball Association of Russia and an enthusiastic promoter of the game, has been helping to obtain buy-in from the national federations that oversee the sport.

“National Federations were not interested in the world of 3x3 basketball,” Besfamilny told FIBA.com in an interview this spring. “This is currently changing with the help of FIBA. But when I started to work in this area the situation was not like this.”

USA Basketball is on board, according to CEO/Executive Director Jim Tooley. “There’s no question that 3x3 international basketball competition has great potential and the success of the 3x3 competition at last summer’s Youth Olympic Games in Singapore is a perfect example,” said Tooley in a statement released by USA Basketball this week.  “USA Basketball applauds FIBA for taking another step in developing a worldwide 3x3 competition and we look forward to working with FIBA in expanding 3x3 international competitions and growing the game as a whole.”

Another challenge FIBA is helping to overcome has been the lack of standardization of rules.

“We still don’t have common rules, because in every country they have their own rules, which are based on the experience of commercial projects,” Besfamilny continued. “In most countries they don’t have help from their government or anyone else to develop 3x3 basketball. For example in Russia we have a very strong President of our Streetbasketball association (Sergey Baydakov) and he helps us a lot with venues, with services, sponsorship and so on. But the situation is not the same all over the world.”

To remedy this challenge, FIBA has rolled out a set of test rules for international events, which while finally in written form, are still considerably simpler than the rulebook governing the 5-on-5 sport. Under the FIBA rules that will govern the 3x3 Youth World Championships, each game will consist of two 5:00 periods, utilizing a 12-second shot clock. Shots made outside the three-point line are awarded two points, shots made inside the 3-point line are awarded one point, and each made free throw is worth one point.   

The team leading after completion of regular playing time, or the first team to score 21 points, wins. If the game is still tied after at the end of regulation, a one-minute overtime is played. If the game is still tied after the first overtime, a second and final, sudden-death overtime is played, with the first team to score two points declared the victor.

One measure of FIBA’s success in promoting the 3x3 game: The Youth World Championships inspired such high demand that the number of participating teams had to be increased from 40 to 60 teams, with 36 nations participating on the boys’ side and 24 on the girls. The countries expected to field girls’ squads include: Angola, Australia, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, England, Germany, Greece, Guam, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela.

The 24 girls’ teams will be divided into four preliminary round groups consisting of six teams each.  The top four finishing teams from each group will advance to the eighth finals, with the winners advancing on to the quarterfinals, semifinals and finals.  The draw and game schedule for the tournament will be announced by FIBA at a later date.

Both U.S. teams will train at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, from Sept. 3-5. As usual, the American squad will be packed with talent. The four selected girls helped lead the USA to a 5-0 record and gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Merida, Mexico. Greenwell finished the USA’s leading scorer averaging 15.6 points and added 5.6 rebounds a game; Harper averaged 9.6 points., 4.6 rebounds and a team-high 3.4 assists per game; Davis contributed 6.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game; and Reimer added 4.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game.


Originally published Thu, August 25, 2011

Reader Discussion

Please Log in or, if you are not yet a member, Register to use the full features of this site.

Women's Basketball Calendar

July 2019
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31 1 2 3 4

Game of the Day

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Today's Top Games

For a full calendar and related details on upcoming nationally televised and Top 25 games, as well as past game scores, and other women's basketball games of interest, click on the link "Women's Basketball Calendar" above.


Try Advanced Search

Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
10 483
11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
Rank remains unchanged since last week
Ranking has risen since last week.
Ranking has dropped since last week.
Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.