USA Basketball E-National Team set to compete in 2021 FIBA Esports Open III
Featuring the return of three gamers from the USA Basketball E-Team that captured the 2020 Esports Open II North and Central Conference championship, and two more who participated in the 2020 USA E-National Team Trials, USA Basketball will look to capture another FIBA Esports Open conference crown May 7-9.
Returning for another shot at the North and Central America Conference Next Gen title are Rafel “Crush” Davis (Kings Guard Gaming/Bronx, N.Y.); Wendi “ALittleLady87” Fleming (Chattanooga, Tenn.) and Malik “OriginalMalik” Hobson (KNX Gaming/Detroit, Mich.). Suiting up for USA Basketball for the first time are Alexander “Steez” Bernstein (76ers GC/Yorba Linda, Calif.); Dayne “OneWildWalnut” Downey (76ers GC/Los Angeles, Calif.); and Kimanni “Splashy” Ingram (Jazz Gaming/Sacramento, Calif.).
76ers Gaming head coach Jeff Terrell, the 2019 NBA 2K League Coach of the Year, returns to USA Basketball as the coach/advisor for the 2021 USA E-National Team for the FIBA Esports Open III.
“In our first FIBA tournament, our team came together at a rapid pace and played for each other and not themselves,” said Terrell. “With this tournament, with most of our roster getting ready for the 2021 NBA 2K League, which begins play May 19, we will have less time to practice and gel. I feel that the group of players we have on this roster are proven winners, leaders of their respective teams and want to represent USA Basketball the correct way.
“Other countries are extremely talented, and we will get everyone’s best shot. Our team stepped up to the challenge and won the FIBA E-Sports Open II, and our expectations are the same in this tournament.”
Also competing in the FIBA Esports Open III North and Central America Conference Next Gen group are Canada, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
The entire preliminary round takes place on May 7 and the best-of-three championship series will be played on May 9. The U.S. opens against Puerto Rico at 7 p.m. (all times EDT), faces Dominican Republic at 7:40 p.m. and Canada at 8:20 p.m. Following the games on May 7, the top two finishing squads advance to the May 9 championship series.
In all, the FIBA Esports III will feature 60 national teams playing in eight regional conferences from April 16-May 9.
Two of the regional conferences – North and Central America and Europe -- have been split into two divisions each, featuring current generation (PS4) and next generation (PS5) teams.
All games will be available across FIBA’s digital channels on Facebook, Twitch and YouTube.
In the first FIBA Esports Open in which it participated, from Dec. 19-20, 2020, USA Basketball finished with a 7-1 record and claimed the title after defeating Dominican Republic 48-45 and 60-56 in the best-of-three championship series.