2012 USA Basketball Men’s And Women’s 3x3 U18 World Championship Teams Complete First Day Of Competition
Sept. 28, 2012
The USA 3x3 U18 women (3-0) went undefeated in the first day of competition at the 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship, while the USA 3x3 U18 men (3-1) won their first three contests, but dropped their last game of the day on Friday at the José Caballero Sports Centre’s Amaya Valdemoro Pavilion in Alcobendas, Spain.
The USA 3x3 U18 men started the day with a 21-19 victory over Hungary (0-4), took down Turkey (2-2) 21-15 and edged host Spain (2-2) 13-12 in overtime, before dropping a 17-14 decision to Israel (3-1) to finish out the day. With the top three teams in each pool advancing to the medal round, tomorrow’s games are critical for the U.S., which is in a four-way tie atop Group D standings, along with Germany (3-1), Italy (3-1) and Israel.
The USA 3x3 U18 women opened with a 21-1 rout of Hong Kong (0-3), followed by a 17-10 defeat of Lithuania (2-1) and capped the day by polishing off Poland (2-1) 15-10. With its perfect 3-0 slate, the USA women sit atop Pool B, which currently lists a three-way tie for second through fourth places as China also owns a 2-1 mark. Only the top three teams advance to the knockout round.
“Both teams started the day off strong,” said Travis Johnson, USA Basketball 3x3 Programs Director. “The men’s team was a little new to the international game and the 3x3 element, but played their teams all the way to the end. The women’s team is very, very strong. They beat Hong Kong 21-1 and their closest game was won by five points. The atmosphere is a little different, because it was inside due to the rain. They had it in their mind that they were playing outside. They all practiced the day before outside. All-in-all, it was a great day for both teams with the women going undefeated and the men finishing 3-1.”
“(Israel) started hitting threes (worth two points in a 3x3 game). They started out pretty good and we were in a dogfight the rest of the way,” said Rondaé Hollis-Jefferson (Chester H.S./Chester, Pa.) following his team’s lone loss of the day. “There were things we could have done better, like grab the loose balls, fight through screens, talk more on defense. That could have won us the game.”
Completing the men’s team are: Larry Austin (Lanphier H.S./Springfield, Ill.), Brett Brady (Highlands Ranch H.S./Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and DeMonte Flannigan (Villa Angela-St. Joseph H.S. / Richmond Heights, Ohio).
“Our strategy was to come out first, score first and play hard the whole game,” said Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas). “I think we did that pretty well. We also wanted to win all our games today and tomorrow, so we can be first in our pool and play fewer games.”
In addition to Turner, the USA 3x3 women’s team includes: Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, Ga.), Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.) and Erica McCall (Ridgeview H.S./Bakersfield, Calif.).
The 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship for Men features 32 teams divided into four groups of eight, and each team plays the seven other teams in its group. The top team from each group earns a berth into the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 finishing teams will play one game to advance four teams to the quarterfinals. From there, the tournament continues in a standard knockout format.
In addition to Israel, Hungary, Spain and Turkey, the USA’s Group D draw includes Germany, Italy and Brazil (0-4), which the U.S. will play on Saturday.
Playing in Group A in the men’s tournament are Belize, Canada, China, France, the Netherlands (which replaced Iran), New Zealand, Poland and Slovakia; Group B consists of Angola, Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Tunisia; while Group C features Australia, Estonia, Jordan, Lithuania, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland and Venezuela.
The 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship for Women features 24 teams divided into four groups of six. Each team will play the other five teams in its group in preliminary action. The top team from each group earns a berth into the quarterfinals, while the No. 2 and No. 3 finishing teams will play one game to advance four teams to the quarterfinals. From there, the tournament continues in a standard knockout format.
Playing in Group B, in addition to its competition from today, the USA women will take on Taiwan (0-3) and China to (2-1) close out pool play on Saturday.
Competing in Group A are Estonia, France, Jordan, Spain, Switzerland and Turkey; Group C lists Andorra, Australia, Canada, England, Romania and Tunisia; and Group D includes Brazil, Czech Republic, Guam, Italy, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka.
The 3x3 U18 World Championship events also include individual skills challenges and a mixed tournament.
The skills competitions include a 3-point shootout, dunk contest and a “2 Ball” contest in which each person from a team of two athletes must shoot from five different positions on the court in a 60-second span. The preliminaries for each contest will take place Saturday, with the finals slated for Sunday.
Flannigan will compete in the dunk contest; the teams of Davis and DeShields, and Austin and Brady will vie for the 3-point shootout gold; while Jefferson and Turner will participate in the “2 Ball” shooting contest.
Competing in the eight-team mixed tournament, in which teams are comprised of two male and two female athletes from a country, Switzerland collected a 20-15 win over Australia, Spain topped Jordan 13-6, Lithuania advanced with a 21-10 victory over Brazil, while France edged Italy 20-19. The winning nations advance to Saturday’s semifinals, where Spain will take on France and Lithuania will face Switzerland for the right to compete in Sunday’s gold medal game. Bronze medals will be awarded to both losing semifinal nations.
This marks the second annual FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship. In the inaugural event, dubbed the 2011 FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship, the USA women finished with a 7-2 record and earned an honorary bronze medal after having to forfeit the bronze medal game due to injuries. The 2011 USA 3x3 U18 men went 7-5 and finished in eighth place. Spain’s women and New Zealand’s men claimed the inaugural gold medals.
Additional Quotes >> 2012 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship Day 1
Rondaé Hollis- Jefferson (Chester H.S./Chester, Pa.)
Can you describe what happened in your final game of the day?
There were things we could have done better (against Israel), like grab the loose balls, fight through screens, talk more on defense. That could have won us the game.
Did Israel get off to a good start and catch you off guard?
Yeah, they started hitting threes (2-pointers). They started out pretty good and we were in a dogfight the rest of the way.
With the four-way tie at the top of your pool, how important are your games tomorrow against Germany and Italy, both of which are tied with the U.S. and Israel with a 3-1 record?
It’s very important to win those games, because we want to win our pool. And without winning those, we can’t win our pool. We’re just going to take one game at a time and go from there. I know that they’re going to play hard, but we’re going to have to play harder.
What’s the atmosphere like?
It’s intense. You’ve got the music playing loud, it’s hard to focus. It’s very aggressive and it’s a fast pace. So, you have to be ready to do all the things you need to do at a very fast speed.
How different is the competition from last year’s 3x3 tournament?
I would say they’ve gotten better and they’ve gotten bigger, too. Last year a lot of the kids were like around our height. Now, they’re like 6-10, a couple 7-footers. I’m like, ‘wow!’ But we never back down from a competition.
How is your team looking?
I feel pretty confident that there’s nothing that we won’t do to win the gold medal. I feel pretty confident with my team.
Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas)
What is the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship like compared to the recent FIBA U17 World Championship?
The 3x3 game is such a fast-paced game. You don’t have time to slow down the game, because it’s a 12-second shot clock. So, you have to keep moving and keep playing hard the whole game. If you get down, it’s really hard to get back up. In five-on-five it’s four quarters, but here it’s just one 10-minute game. So, it’s a lot harder.
Did you have any particular strategy going into the first day of competition?
Our strategy was to come out first, score first and play hard the whole game. I think we did that pretty well. We also wanted to win all our games today and tomorrow, so we can be first in our pool and play fewer games.
Your first two games today were very lopsided, especially the first one (21-0). Was there anything you were working on?
No, we just came out from the start really hard, shared the ball. We just really wanted it.
What are your thoughts on the 3x3 tournament overall?
The atmosphere here is great. You get to see four games at once. There are so many different teams from different countries here, so it’s really exciting. It also has both men and women’s teams, and mixed, so it’s a really fun experience.
You’ll be competing in the “2-Ball” shooting competition. Can you tell me about that?
In the competition, you go around twice and shoot a three, a free throw, then like three other shots. You alternate each shot. We haven’t practiced yet, but we probably will before the skills competition starts.