Basketball New Zealand (BBNZ) are pleased to announce a star-studded line-up of men’s athletes for next month’s Schick 3×3 Cup, to be held at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.
The Schick 3×3 Cup will run from Wednesday 12 to Saturday 15 October, with 32 teams (16 men’s and 16 women’s) engaging in non-stop action over four days. Tickets are now on sale at bbnz.link/tickets, with all games also being broadcast live on Sky Sport.
The 16 men’s teams includes squads from all 10 Sal’s NBL teams, as well as six sides who will compete in the Schick 3×3 Cup for the first time. In all, 64 men are set to compete in the second year of this Cup, including 52 players from the Sal’s NBL 2022 season and 11 athletes who have represented New Zealand as a Tall Black this year.
Among the most high-profile players in this competition is Ethan Rusbatch, who led the Hawke’s Bay Hawks with 17.7 ppg in the Sal’s NBL this past season; also scoring 11.8 ppg for the Tall Blacks across six World Cup Qualifiers in 2022 as a key contributor.
Rusbatch is also a Schick 3×3 Cup returnee – with his Hawke’s Bay Hawks side falling to the Southland Sharks in the 2020 Grand Final – and is focussed on winning the next month’s competition.
“I’m a competitor so when I’m going into any competition, I’m not ever going in to settle for second or third place – I’m trying to go in and win everything,” says Rusbatch.
“It doesn’t matter who won [in 2020], it’s more about ‘how can I improve on my last performance?’ and be even better the next time around, so the team can win,” says Rusbatch.
With Rusbatch the only returning player for the Hawks from the 2020 Schick 3×3 Cup, he’s excited about the new squad will perform next month.
“Between all of us, we haven’t really played a whole lot [of 3×3 basketball] before, but I’m excited to have a couple of younger Hawks guy in the squad this year. Tommy [Fergusson] is obviously a pretty big body so it’s good to have a decent-sized guy like him when you’re playing 3×3, and Ezra [Smiler] has a bit of sauce to his game that suits the 3×3 style.
“And everyone knows that Marcel [Jones] is a certified bucket who can put the ball in the hoop – overall I think we’ve got a pretty strong group so we’ll see how we gel on the court.”
Rusbatch believes his game is a natural fit for the 3×3 style of play.
“I don’t try and think too much about that whole 3×3 style; if I’m open then I’m going to shoot it and that’s how I play every game, big or small, so there’s not too much of a mental switch for me. There’s things in 3×3 I have to adjust to, like less transition opportunities and less running – but in turn that gives me a bit more energy to shoot more.”
The Schick 3×3 Cup tips off from 12 October at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill; tickets are at bbnz.link/tickets, or fans you can watch games live on Sky Sport.
A full schedule, as well as the release of the 16 women’s teams in the Schick 3×3 Cup, will follow shortly.
Schick 3×3 Cup 2022 – Men’s Teams
Auckland Tuatara – Chris McIntosh, Liam Judd, Reuben Fitzgerald, Tom Beattie
Canterbury Rams – Aidan Tonge, Joe Cook-Green, Sam Smith, Taylor Britt
Franklin Bulls – Christian Martin, Denhym Brooke, Jayden Bezzant, Jett Thompson
Hawke’s Bay Hawks – Ethan Rusbatch, Ezra Smiler, Marcel Jones, Tommy Fergusson
Manawatu Jets – Ben Robertson, Isaac Morrison, Klein Salmon, Tama Faamausili
Mid-City Magic – Benji Freeman, Pafe Momoisea, Josh Aitcheson, Richie Rodger
Nelson Giants – Alex McNaught, Riley Bensemann, Sam Dempster, Tyler Marsh
Northland United – Haize Walker, Kainoa Lepou, Tukaha Cooper, Zac Easthope
Otago Nuggets – Matthew Bardsley, Nikau McCullough, Robert Coman
Southland Sharks – Alonzo Burton, Dom Kelman-Poto, Dru-Leo Leusogi-Ape, Tom Cowie
Taranaki Airs – Ben Carlile-Smith, Carlin Davison, Derek Albertsen, Scott Telfer
Tavake Pasifika – Emanuel Siale, Keun Thompson, Obadaiah Paea, Sonny Afu
Waikato University – Daniel Dobson, Jayden Taufale, Pita King, Te Maire van der Leden
Wellington Saints – Johnny Helu, Kenneth Tuffin, Nathaniel Salmon, Taane Samuels
West Coast Rapids – Ben Hall, Jared Hibbs, Kaia Isaac, Kieran Russell
Whai – Mitch Dance, Tai Wynyard, Te Tuhi Lewis, Zac Mckenzie