Canterbury’s Piet Van Hasselt has been named Head Coach of the New Zealand men’s 3×3 team and is tasked with taking the national side to two big fixtures in 2020.
The first is the FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in New Delhi, to be held 18 to 22 March. Two months later the team will joining the New Zealand women’s side at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup in Changsha, China, to be held 13 to 17 May.
Coaching the elite New Zealand team is a step up for Van Hasselt. Last year he led the national Under 23 men’s side at the FIBA U23 World Cup in China, where the team narrowly missed out on a quarter-finals berth due to an overtime loss in Argentina. It was the first time New Zealand had played at that age-group event and Van Hasselt says it was an experience that helped develop him for this new role.
“The New Zealand Under 23 programme is important to the senior programme as it facilitates more players to experience the increased physicality and pace of the international 3×3 game. I enjoyed the chance to put into practice what I’d been learning about 3×3 in recent years and have been further studying international trends and concepts of the game since,” says Van Hasselt.
The Canterbury region has long benefitted from Van Hasselt’s passion for the game. He is a self-professed “basketball junkie” and a coach of University of Canterbury basketball teams, the Canterbury Knights and the Mainland Eagles Academy. Since 2014, Van Hasselt has been an assistant coach for the Canterbury Rams in the Sal’s NBL.
Van Hasselt’s most recent 3×3 success was coaching the winning South Island team of the new 3×3.EXE league. The win qualified his team for the Premier Finals in Japan, where they finished an impressive seventh in the semi-professional event.
Coaching is more than a personal passion for Van Hasselt, it’s his profession too. He is a lecturer at the University of Canterbury in the Bachelor of Sport Coaching Programme and he says coaching basketball is a great chance to practice what he preaches. The New Zealand men’s team will undoubtedly benefit from Van Hasselt’s theoretical and practical coaching experience.
“I’m fortunate that the University supports me through these opportunities.
“I want to serve New Zealand and help facilitate positive collaboration to create and continue a legacy of success in the 3×3 game. The opportunity to help lead and build the men’s 3×3 programme with the support of Basketball New Zealand for a three-year period is something that really appeals. We have some tremendous players in this country who have team-first values and I am excited to get the chance to work with them to achieve our aspirational goals.
“New Zealand has performed extremely well at the junior level winning two Under 18 3×3 Men’s World Cups (2011 and 2015) and second place in the Under 18 3×3 Women’s World Cup last year. The objective is to succeed in the senior ranks through an extended programme building towards pinnacle events like the Olympics, World Cups, Commonwealth Games along with the Asia Cups.
“The opportunity to represent your country and ‘bleed the black’, as Tall Blacks coach Pero Cameron put it recently, is something that is ingrained into our New Zealand basketball culture. This includes the 3×3 game which offers many opportunities to represent New Zealand on the world stage,” says Coach Van Hasselt.