New Zealand has named a strong men’s squad ahead of the FIBA 3x3 World Cup in the Philippines, which tips off this Friday afternoon (NZT).
Karl Noyer, the number one FIBA ranked player in New Zealand, and Aaron Bailey-Nowell are back after finishing fourth at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in China in May this year. Everard Bartlett joins the squad after suiting up for the Taylor Bay Hawks in the Sal’s NBL. He’s also a 3x3 player, having represented New Zealand in 2017 when he was part of the team that won silver at the 3x3 Asia Cup in Mongolia. The fourth player to be named in former Under 18 World 3x3 Champion, Sam Timmins, who has made himself available during a break from his US College duties.
The New Zealand team are in Pool A along with Romania, Kyrgyzstan, Netherland and defending champions Serbia. Head coach, Anthony Corban, says they have drawn into the Pool of Death, but is relishing the opportunity to go into the tournament as underdogs.
“We will be a team no one will pay attention to, which is great. That's the way I like it.
“We have to focus on what we can control. Rebounding and defending the two-point line (three-point line for 5x5). Hopefully we can contain dribble penetration a little better at this event,” said Corban today.
The team’s first game is on Saturday afternoon at 4:30pm New Zealand time against Romania. Later that day, at 7:30pm, the team will square off with back-to-back gold medalists Serbia.
Serbia has won gold in three of the past four FIBA 3x3 World Cup events, and they won silver in the other. They’re one of the best 3x3 team’s in the world and will be a stiff test for New Zealand early in the competition.
Pool play rounds out with Kyrgyzstan on Monday at 4:30pm, and last year’s silver medalists, the Netherlands, at 6:00pm later that day. The two top teams from each pool advance to the next round.
Coach Corban says the Philippines is the spiritual home of basketball and an immensely passionate basketball country. He says the atmosphere in Manila will be “crazy”.
“Basketball is huge in the Philippines. You only have to see the national team’s 3x3 Facebook page to get a grasp of their popularity. The players that represent the county through their national team are heroes over there and we know the 3x3 game pulls in huge crowds over there. I believe the indoor stadium we’ll be playing in has a 55,000-seat capacity. It’s the world’s largest indoor arena. It’ll be crazy.”
All games are being live streamed on the FIBA 3x3 Youtube channel, and all of New Zealand’s games on the Basketball New Zealand Facebook page.
· Karl Noyer
· Aaron Bailey-Nowell
· Everard Bartlett
· Sam Timmins
New Zealand Pool A Schedule:
· Saturday, 9 June, 16:30 vs Romania
· Saturday, 9 June, 19:30 vs Serbia
· Monday, 11 June. 16:30 vs Kyrgyzstan
· Monday, 11 June. 18:00 vs Netherlands
· Tuesday, 12 June. Finals day.
· See FIBA’s tournament website here: http://www.fiba.basketball/3x3WC/2018
· More basketball news at www.nz.basketball and Basketball New Zealand’s social media channels: @BasketballNZ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.