Harlem and Oklahoma WBB Take Red Bull USA Basketball 3X South Regional Titles
As the search for USA Basketball’s 3x3 National Team hopefuls continues, four more teams qualified for the 2020 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals today at the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X South Regional in Atlanta.
On the men’s side, it was Harlem, currently the fourth-ranked team in the FIBA world rankings, winning 21-18 over 3Ball Chicago, a hungry squad that also lost in the Chicago regional final two weeks ago. For Harlem, they were led by Marcel Esonwune, the 14th-ranked player in the world by FIBA, and Dominique Jones, the 8th-ranked player. Their team was rounded out by Michael Pool Jr. and Michael Liander.
“3Ball Chicago was a good team, and it was a great competition all around,” said Esonwune. “Experience always wins over anything, and we’ve been playing together for six months. When the game gets close, it makes the difference.”
On the women’s side, Oklahoma WBB took out JMU Dukes by a score of 21 – 18, with both sides comprised of current players on the University of Oklahoma and James Madison University women’s team rosters. Oklahoma WBB was led by Gabby Gregory, an incoming freshman who was the high school player of the year in the state of Oklahoma this past school year. Sophomores-to-be Madison Williams and Taylor Robertson, who averaged 11.6 and 14 points, respectively, for Oklahoma last season, also played major roles, as did the fourth team member Mandy Simpson.
“All of us can score, and our style of play is to share the ball and count on each other,” said Gregory. “There is so much space in the 3x3 format, so we have to focus on defense, because it’s so fast paced.”
In all, 24 elite men’s and women’s teams based on performances at Red Bull 3X qualifiers or other tournaments made their way to this third stop of the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Regionals.
The final Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Regional of the year will be played on Sunday, Sept. 29 on the iconic Venice Beach courts and is free to the public to attend.
The players are competing to accumulate enough individual FIBA points with the goal of moving on to the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals in April 2020, where 24 men’s and 24 women’s teams will be on display. From that event, USA Basketball will select four players — not necessarily all from one championship team — for the men’s and women’s teams that will play in Tokyo less than a year from now, should the USA qualify, as 3x3 makes its Olympic debut.
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
1. Oklahoma WBB – Gabby Gregory, Mandy Simpson, Madison Williams, Taylor Robertson
2. JMU Dukes – Kamiah Smalls, Laxie Barrier, Kayla Cooper-Williams, Jackie Benitez
MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP BRACKET
1. Harlem – Marcel Esonwune, Domo Jones, Michael Poole Jr., Michael Liander
2. 3Ball Chicago – Stefhon Hannah, Tony Bennett, Anthony Spencer, Rashaun Stimage
3x3 is played on a half court with a 10-minute game clock and 12-second shot clock. The winner is the first team to 21 points or the team in the lead at the end of the 10-minute regulation.
For more information, visit redbull.com/3X.