USA Men’s 3x3 National Team Preps for 3x3 Qualifying Tournament
The countdown is becoming real for the USA Basketball Men’s 3x3 National Team.
Canyon Barry, Robbie Hummel, Dominique Jones and Kareem Maddox will gather this weekend in Beverly Hills, California, for a training camp that runs through May 18. The foursome will represent the U.S. in the FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament at Graz, Austria, May 26-30. The top three teams in the 20-country field will advance to Tokyo this summer for the debut of Olympic 3x3 basketball.
“Ever since they announced the (tournament) date, it’s been on everyone’s calendar and circled. It starts to feel real now,” Maddox said.
It will be the second training camp USA Basketball has held for the team, with the other in Orlando, Florida, in mid-March. While the four players have known, watched and even played with each other for a few years, this will be the first time they have competed together as this group of four athletes.
In 2019, Barry, Hummel and Maddox finished 7-0 and captured gold at 2019 FIBA 3x3 World Cup, while Jones and Maddox were members of the 2019 USA 3x3 Pan American Games Team that also claimed gold.
“We know each other really well and played against each other a whole bunch,” Jones said. “Just bond, and learn each other’s habits day by day. We actually just finished another pre-minicamp as well. That was really good for us as well.”
Jones was referring to an informal get-together in Rancho Santa Fe, California — about a half-hour north of San Diego — organized by Maddox that included players bringing along family members or significant others.
“We had a really good group of practice guys and we just got to spend a lot of time together with each other’s families,” Maddox said. “That was really important because our ultimate goal is to play for a gold medal in the Olympics, and when you do that, you don’t just do that for yourself. You do that for your family, and you do that for the USA because that’s the name that’s across your chest. So, it’s important to know who Domo’s playing for and meet them and spend time with them and the same for Robbie. That was another really positive element of the camp.”
The USA 3x3 Los Angeles training camp is part of a partnership with Red Bull, which since 2019 has been helping USA Basketball grow 3x3. The team will be living and training at a private residence in Beverly Hills. The house includes a basketball court in the backyard and the same rubberized playing court that will be used in Austria and that is used on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour.
“We’re trying to make everything as real as possible,” Jones said. “With us being together and living together for this extended period of time, like a lot of other countries, they have been together for many years. So just coming together as one and just building things that of nature is really helping us out. That’s something I look forward to.”
Pushing Barry, Hummel, Jones and Maddox in the lead-up to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament are a team of select 3x3 players, including Zahir Carrington, Damon Huffman, Joey King, Dan Mavraides and Craig Moore — all of whom have extensive international 3x3 experience.
“These guys, we’re familiar with because we’ve been on the World Tour playing professional 3x3 and so they have a good sense of … not only the style of play and the kind of nuances with 3x3, but also they have some awareness of the actual players that we’ll be playing against,” Maddox said.
“These are all guys that we’ve known for a long time, and they know us pretty well, too, so they know how to do a lot of things,” he continued. “They know what we’re strong at, and they’ll try to stop us from doing that when we’re scrimmaging. They know what we’re weak at, they’ll try to make us do that while we’re scrimmaging. Those are all things that good teams that we may face will try to do. I think it’s very important that they’re there, and they are really good guys who are in this for the bigger picture, which is trying to bring home gold, trying to get to Tokyo.”
With the schedule for Austria announced just before this camp began — the U.S. will play in Group B and face Lithuania and South Korea on May 27, then Kazakhstan and Belgium on May 29 — the players now know where the difficulty lies. In FIBA’s 3x3 federation rankings, the U.S. is No. 2, with Lithuania No. 6, South Korea No. 21, Kazakhstan No. 36 and Belgium No. 19. Only the top two teams in each group advance to the quarterfinals. Another two wins in the knockout rounds guarantees a trip to Tokyo.
To keep that connectivity going when they aren’t together, the players started a group text that includes everything from basketball business to jokes.
“It’s about the chemistry,” said Maddox, who often leaves voice memos in the group text. “I think one of the first memos I sent was like, ‘What we’re trying to do is really important. It means a lot. But just as important as what we’re trying to do is who we’re doing it with.’ I truly believe that — who we’re doing with and who we’re doing it for. I think that this is a team that needs to come together, and everyone has really bought into making that happen.”