Skills Earn More Than Attention At 3x3 Competitions
Colorado Springs, Colorado
The 2014 USA Basketball 3x3 National Championships that will take place this weekend at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, will feature 3x3 teams of 18-and-under athletes all vying for the title of champion.
Before pool play begins on May 31, the teams will have the chance to take part in additional competitions that accompany FIBA’s 3x3 events, such asa skills course, 3-point shootout and a hotshot competition that features teams of two.
Friday’s competitions mostly will be for bragging rights, but for the winner of the women's 2014 USA Basketball 3x3 National Championship, which will be selected to represent the USA at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games from Aug. 16-28 in Nanjing, China, those competitions soon may be for medals.
While 20 men’s and 20 women’s national teams comprised of players 16-18 years old will take part in a 3x3 championship during the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, there also will be a dunk contest for men and an invidivual shootout contest for women.
One of the players taking part in this weekend's 2014 USA Basketball 3x3 National Championship will be Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.), who returns not only with experience from the 2013 USA Basketball 3x3 National Championships in the open and U18 divisions, but also as a 2013 open-division all-tournament selection and winner of the partner hotshot competition.
She also enters this weekend’s tournament on the heels of her selection as a member of the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team on May 26, just four days ago.
For Collier, the skills challenges that accompany 3x3 basketball are a chance to develop aspects of her game in a less-traditional way, and they remind her of messing around on the basketball court when she was younger.
“I enjoyed it, because I like competition,” Collier explained. “It was a fun competition before the actual tournament started.
“It’s like what you play as you’re growing up.”
She also said that any opportunity to win a medal is one that she can get excited about.
“I think it’s important to try and do well in the skills competition, but our main goal, obviously, is to win the tournament. But, It’d be awesome if we won any of the skills contests, too.”
Before Collier can think of winning any medals at all, however, she and her teammates will have to emerge victorious from this weekend. On Friday, however, she will be free to relax and enjoy a pre-tournament warm up as she and all of the participants take part in a 3-point shootout, a skills course and a partner hotshot competition.
And according to Collier, that will be a great way to kick things off, even if she and her teammates are not exactly sure who will compete in what.
“I would like to do the hotshot,” she said. “I think that one is fun.”