USA Basketball 3x3 National Tournament Champions Crowned, Named As USA 3x3 World Championship Teams
The 2016 USA Basketball 3x3 Men’s and Women’s National Tournaments concluded on Sunday morning, with 3Ball Premier (8-0) on the men’s side and Defend (6-2) from the women’s tournament earning their respective titles. Not only did they capture gold medals, both teams earned the right to represent USA Basketball at the 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Championship that will be held Oct. 11-15 in Guangzhou, China.
Named to the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s 3x3 World Championship Team were: Stefhon Hannah (Missouri/Chicago, Ill.), Myke Henry (DePaul/Chicago, Ill.), Deandre Liggins (Kentucky/Chicago, Ill.) and Alfonzo McKinnie (Wisconsin-Green Bay/Chicago); while the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s 3x3 World Championship Team includes: Linnae Harper (Ohio State/Chicago, Ill.), Alexis Jennings (South Carolina/Madison, Ala.), Natalie Romeo (Washingon/Martinez, Calif.) and Chatrice White (Florida State/Shelby, Neb.).
“It’s an awesome feeling,” said men’s tournament MVP Henry, who recently closed out his collegiate career at DePaul Universiy. “This might be my second or third MVP honor. I want to stay humble, but it’s a great feeling. I’m at a loss for words.”
3Ball Premier entered Sunday’s championship round with a 5-0 slate and took down UCCS (2-4) 21-8 in the quarterfinals, earned a 21-15 semifinal victory over Ariel (5-2), before edging Harlem (7-1) 21-19 for the 2016 USA 3x3 crown.
“We just had to focus on the game plan we prepared leading up to this weekend, and I think we did that pretty well, getting adjusted to the rules and all that,” said Hannah. “At the end it helped us out a lot, going over the plays we went over at practice, it helped us.”
Defend entered Sunday’s championship round as the No. 3 seed after finishing 3-2 in preliminary round-robin play. However, Defend came out strong and defeated UCCS (0-6) 21-5 in the quarterfinals, downed Ariel (4-2) 21-12 in the semifinals and fought to a 19-17 gold medal victory over previously undefeated Unknowns (6-1).
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said women’s MVP Harper, who has been a member of five previous USA Basketball teams, including the 2011 U18 3x3 Youth World Championship Team. “To be here, representing the USA, and getting the opportunity to play at the next level is a wonderful opportunity. All the credit goes to my teammates, we worked hard in a limited time, we battled on and off the court, we played well. I also want to give credit to the teams that we played. They brought all their energy, their talent, and it’s just a great experience.
“As a team we just came together, we talked about the things we did wrong and what we did right,” added Harper on the adjustments her team made between the preliminary round and the medal round. “We watched a little film. We came out today, I guess the most important part was execution and we did that.”
The men’s gold medal game was not without controversy. Harlem’s Kavon Lytch (Brooklyn, N.Y.) was called for an offensive foul on Liggins with 48 seconds remaining on the clock and the score tied at 19-all. With Harlem in the bonus, Liggins hit both free throws to give his team the 21-19 victory.
Harlem protested the ruling that awarded Liggins two free throws and after the protest was approved, the final 48 seconds were replayed, with the same result. With 36 seconds remaining and the score still tied 19-19, Hannah received a pass from Liggins and hit a 2-pointer to give 3Ball Premier the 21-19 victory.
“Deandre, he got the rebound and he kicked it to me,” said Hannah regarding the final play. “I was open, the big guy (Lytch), he tried to close out and when I released, I didn’t even see it go in because he was so big. I fell back and saw the reaction by everyone else, I was like, ‘Oh, I made it!’
“It was tough, very tough (to come back to play the final 48 seconds again). When you already think you’ve won the game, we celebrated and everything. But, those are the rules. We kind of were mad, but we’re proud, we’re from Chicago and we want to win the right way. We thought about it, came together and said let’s just get it.”
In addition to the 3x3 games, the USA 3x3 National Tournament weekend featured skills contests for both men and women, including a Skills Challenge, a Partner Hot Shot competition and a 3-Point Shootout.
Harlem’s David Seagers (Bronx, N.Y.), earned the gold in the men’s Skills Challenge, followed by Ariel’s Jitim Young (Chicago, Ill.) with the silver and Hand Down Man Down’s Darrell Waters (Atlanta, Ga.) took bronze.
The men’s Partner Hot Shot competition was won by Denver’s Corey Campbell (Aurora, Colo.) and Derek Griffin (Denver, Colo.), followed by New York City’s Kevin Douglas (Bronx, N.Y.) and Jamal Womack (Bronx, NY.) in second place and Hard2Guard’s Kevin Dinges (Los Angeles, Calif.) and Chris Kolaxis (Clearwater, Fla.) rounded out the medals with bronze.
Winning gold in the 3-Point Shootout was 3Ball Premier’s Henry while Jabriel Likely (Aurora, Colo.) of UCCS took silver and Ashton Pitts (Atlanta, Ga.) from Hands Down Man Down won bronze.
Defend’s Harper took gold in the women’s Skills Challenge, followed by Veshaundra Young (Pulaski, Tenn.) of Unknowns with silver and Morgan Jennings (Atlanta, Ga.) of The Unknown with bronze.
Defend’s Jennings and White won the Partner Hot Shot gold medal, while Chrissy Givens (Monroe, La.) and Shamela Goodman (Wardell, Mo.) of Unknowns finished second and The Unknown’s Alexia Adams (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Stanecia Graham (Chicago, Ill.) rounded out the medal stand.
The 3-Point Shootout was won by Denver’s Megan Kavalec (Colorado Springs, Colo.), while Romeo of Defend earned silver and Angela Goodman (Wardell, Mo.) of Unknows was awarded the bronze medal.
2016 marks the fifth time USA Basketball has conducted a 3x3 National Tournament.
2016 FIBA 3X3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Championships will feature a total of 40 teams from 30 different countries and every continent in Guangzhou, China.
It is the first time the competition is being held in Asia after being staged in Athens, Greece in 2012 and Moscow, Russia in 2014.
Held every other year in even numbered years, the USA women won both prior championships, while Qatar’s men struck gold in 2014 and the U.S. men are seeking their first medal.
National squads participating in the men’s competition are: Andorra, Brazil, host China, Egypt, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, USA and Uruguay.
Nations qualified on the women’s side include: Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, host China, Chinese Taipei, Cook Islands, Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, Spain, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and USA.
The USA 3x3 Women’s World Championship teams have compiled a perfect 18-0 overall record and captured gold at both the 2012 and 2014 FIBA 3x3 World Championships.