Red Bull USA Basketball Men’s 3x3 Nationals Sees Three Teams Unbeaten After First Day of Competition
After 20 preliminary round games were contested between the 15 men’s teams competing on the first day of the 2019 Red Bull USA Basketball 3x3 Nationals on Friday at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, three teams remained undefeated and atop their respective preliminary round groups heading into the second and final day of competition. The event, which is free and open to the public, is being held for the first time outdoors in the heart of downtown Las Vegas.
Fourteen teams have at least one preliminary round game remaining, six have two to play in the morning’s session which will run from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. (all times listed are local, PDT) outside at the Las Vegas Downtown Events Center, while Attack (2-2) concluded its preliminary round games on Friday night.
After teams are seeded based on preliminary records, the knockout round will begin Saturday at 7 p.m. The men’s championship game, which will be streamed live online at usab.com/live, is set to tip at 10:20 p.m.
“We wanted to just play hard, we have four players that I know for sure play hard,” said Briante Weber (Sioux Falls Skyforce/Norfolk, Va.), of Pursuit, which earned a 2-0 record after defeating Hoopla (0-2) 21-14 and Ariel NYAC (2-1) 21-7. “I played against them in the NBA G League so I know what I can get out of them. We’re just competing right now, there’s nothing more to playing 3x3 basketball then competing. That’s all it is, we’re just competing at a high level and whatever happens from there we’ll live with the result.
“Just trying to build on just being connected and not giving up 2s,” Weber added regarding his team’s strategy. “2s hurt you and it’s a quick game of 21 so getting stops and making shots, that’s what it is about.”
Also competing on Pursuit are Kadeem Jack (Rutgers/Queens, N.Y.); Sheldon Jeter (Maine Red Claws/Beaver Falls, Pa.); and Xavier Silas (Iowa Wolves/Aurora, Colo.).
3BALL California (3-0) and 3BALL NY Harlem (3-0) finished with identical 3-0 slates.
3BALL California, which features Olin Carter III (San Diego/Allen, Texas); Henry Caruso (Princeton, Santa Clara/Burlingame, Calif.); Frankie Ferrari (San Francisco/Burlingame, Calif.); and Josh Sharma (Stanford /Lexington, Mass.); downed NYC (1-1) 21-16, defending champs Ariel Slow & Steady (2-1) 21-19 and 3x3U MAC (0-2) 18-17 in overtime.
3BALL NY Harlem lists Marcel Esonwune (York College/Astoria, N.Y.); Dominique Jones (Fort Hays State University/Harlem, N.Y.); Antoinne Morgano (NJ City University/Newark, N.J.); and Dave Seagers (Dowling College/ Bronx, N.Y.) on its roster. 3BALL Harlem defeated Roots Academy (1-2) 21-9, Attack 20-13 and 3x3U Southland (1-2) 21-17.
In addition to the lure of a national championship, the event also serves as the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s 3x3 National Team trials, as all eligible athletes will be in consideration for selection to the 2019 USA Men’s 3x3 World Cup and 2019 USA Men’s 2019 U.S. Pan American Games 3x3 Basketball teams.
“It’s dope,” added Weber about the set-up of the venue and the 3x3 game. “I’m from the littlest place in Virginia, in 3x3 you just play, you don’t have any rules, you just hoop. I like it because it gives me a lot of space to work with and I need space.”
Olympic fans will see the launch of a new basketball discipline with the inclusion of 3x3 in 2020. The exciting and fast-paced game officially was unveiled in international competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and has since become a fan favorite at FIBA 3x3 World Cup events. Played on a half court with a 10-minute clock, and a 12-second shot clock, the first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner. The non-stop action of 3x3 will ensure it is one of the hottest tickets in Tokyo, and fans in Las Vegas will get an early taste of that excitement during the USA Basketball 3x3 Nationals.
Held annually since 2012, this year marks the eighth edition of the USA Basketball 3x3 National Championships, and the first time the nationals will be held outside of Colorado Springs, Colorado.