Basketball in New Zealand is on a high right now with the Sal’s NBL 2020 Showdown capturing headlines, and BBNZ has announced another exciting venture with the NBL’s Schick 3X3 Cup unveiled today, tipping off in September 2020 at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.
This will be an elite domestic competition, featuring NBL level players. It joins up a 3X3 pathway that has been evolving in New Zealand for some years, with the community-facing 3X3 Quest Tour that’s played in regions throughout the country each year, the 3X3.EXE Premier League, and the Basketball New Zealand elite 3X3 programme.
At the international level, already FIBA has been developing their World Tour and hosting 3X3 continental and world cups for a number of years. Next year, 3X3 is set to become an Olympic sport in Tokyo.
New Zealand can already point to a successful record on the international stage. The first major victory was at the inaugural FIBA U18 Men’s World Championship in 2011 when Isaac Fotu, Tai Webster, Reuben Te Rangi and James Ashby took the honours. New Zealand captured that title again in 2015. The 3X3 Tall Ferns have also shown they’re very competitive on the international stage with a 2018 Asia Cup Gold Medal to their name and qualification at the FIBA World Champs in 2019. The U18 Tall Ferns won silver in the 2019 World Cup.
The Schick 3X3 Cup will see ten men’s teams and ten women’s teams assembling at ILT Stadium Southland from 3-5 September. After this inaugural season, the plan is to see the Schick 3X3 Cup played throughout August 2021, with four stops on a nationwide tour to find the best NBL 3X3 teams and players in the land.
This year’s competition will feature no less than 70 games played across five sessions, with 20-hours of action set to be broadcast on Sky Sport.
Basketball New Zealand Head of High Performance Leonard King says the Schick 3X3 Cup is a fantastic addition to the 3X3 programme and will encourage a new generation of ballers.
“3X3 has been quite the innovation in the sport these past ten years. FIBA has long seen the potential in this new version of the sport, with its inclusion at the Olympic Games it is going to be exposed to a global audience of billions.
“It is a fast-paced and high energy game, one that requires a huge tactical awareness but also one that rewards strong one-on-one play, allowing players to express themselves on offence and defence.
“3X3 has been played for years. Wherever there is a half court, pick-up games have been played. You only need to stop and watch the action in a local park or community court to see the joy that players get from this style of the game.
“Its presence at the Olympics and the introduction of the Schick 3X3 Cup allows those same players to aspire to play at the very pinnacle, to take those natural skills and love of basketball into a high-performance environment.
Current men’s and women’s NBL teams quickly snapped up 18 of the 20 three-year franchises that were on offer with NBL General Manager Justin Nelson indicated that a tenth ‘invitational’ team will be confirmed in both men’s and women’s Schick 3×3 Cup competitions on an annual basis.
“We have left the door open for a tenth invitational team in both the men’s and women’s competitions each year and have a few ideas on the table, and once New Zealand’s borders are open again we have a firm desire to bring international teams in to take on our best, hopefully starting with the Philippines.”
Schick has proudly supported Basketball New Zealand for the past three years and has elevated their partnership in 2020 to help ignite the 3X3 venture as well as extend their support of basketball fanatics from all walks of life.
“The opportunity to turbo-charge our support of basketball in New Zealand was one we couldn’t resist,” said Schick New Zealand Business Director, Andre De Beer. “The sport is surging ahead with such impressive speed and passion that we wanted to really do something impactful, so getting behind the Schick 3X3 NBL Cup is an initiative we are thrilled to support.
“Likewise, our Schick Everyday Ballers campaign is attracting thousands of entries from around the country from people who just simply love basketball, and we’re excited to be recognising and rewarding 30 Kiwis in our inaugural 2020 draft”.
In recent years the New Zealand 3×3 Women’s programme and been especially noticeable, with some standout medals (listed below). Sky Sport Tall Fern Penina Davidson, who is a marquee player for the Harbour Breeze having signed a three year deal in 2018, says she’s excited at the opportunities in the women’s game. She says the Schick 3X3 Cup will add to the growing incentive for younger players to choose the basketball pathway.
“The announcement of the Schick 3X3 is great timing for the game and the wider basketball community,” said Davidson. “To have more girls playing is huge, even if they don’t want to play five a side they now have 3X3 as a genuine option, this is just great to have more basketball going on, especially for the younger girls to have this as an option to choose basketball.
“The level of fitness is a significantly higher standard and because there are only three players you are so much more exposed in terms of skill set. It is overall quite like an intense, fast paced and highly skilled game which makes it really exciting.”
Tall Black and Franklin Bulls centre Sam Timmins was a member of that World Championship winning team in 2015, playing alongside fellow Sal’s NBL Showdown players Tai Wynyard (Taranaki Airs) and Nikau McCullough (Franklin Bulls) and Matt Freeman. He has nothing but great memories of that tournament and the role that 3X3 can play in the game.
“Any chance to put the black singlet on and represent my country I’m going to take no matter what. 3X3 is such a fast-paced and exciting game, and I have loved playing it every opportunity I have had.
“The win in 2015 brings back great memories, it was good to be on court with my mates, and to represent New Zealand and get the win was so exciting for us all.”
The NBL Schick 3X3 Cup | 3-5 September, 2020 | ILT Stadium Southland, Invercargill
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