Specialists are not as important as all-rounders in the faster format of the sport, where there is neither place nor time to hide.
Versatility will be the name of the game when 159 players descend on Parque Mujeres Argentinas for the Buenos Aires 2018 3x3 basketball competitions.
“A lot of countries like to think 3x3 is like (traditional) basketball, but in reality it is more comparable to futsal or beach volleyball where players have to be very versatile as opposed to specialists at various positions,” said Julien Debove, communications manager for the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). “Players need to be able to do it all – shoot, defend, guard.”
Men’s and women’s team events and two individual contests (men’s dunk and women’s shoot-out) will take place across 11 days of competition at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.
Teams from Egypt (red shirts) and Indonesia (blue shirts) during a basketball 3x3 practice session (OIS Photos)
Designed to be fast and exciting, 3x3 teams consist of four players – three on the court and one substitute. Play takes place on a half-court with a 12-second shot clock, on one basket and in one period of 10 minutes’ playing time.
“It’s a (much) faster-paced game,” USA player Carson McCorkle said. “You have to get your shot off faster. There’s nowhere to hide. There’s only five other guys (across both teams) on the court with you, so one-on-one and defence are really important. You can’t really hide and go through the motions. You have to be able to play and stick out in every game.”
Sixteen-year-old Aliyah Boston, who plays for the USA women’s team – gold medallists at the Nanjing 2014 YOG – said: “(It) is so exciting to play. The pace of the game and all the different rules, especially the 12-second shot clock, really gets you thinking.”
Play gets under way on Sunday (7 October), when Mongolia take on Estonia in the men’s preliminary round.