3Ball Omaha Tops 3Ball Select at Red Bull 3X South Regional
In a tournament that featured the four members of the gold medal winning 2019 FIBA 3x3 World Cup team playing together on Princeton, along with five teams already qualified for the 2022 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals, it came down to two teams from Omaha for the Red Bull 3X USA Basketball South Region title on Saturday, Oct. 9, in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In the championship game, 3BALL Omaha topped its sibling team 3BALL Select 21-6 to take the title. Both teams, which also competed in the Midwest Regional but fell in the quarterfinals there, now have qualified for 3X Nationals that will be held in the spring of 2022.
On the court for 3BALL Omaha were Trey Bardsley, Trey Lansman, Klaye Rowe and Dylan Travis. The squad for 3BALL Select included Michael DiNunno, Malik Hluchoweckyj, James Parrott and Harold Ridgeway.
The Charlotte event was the third of four regionals, and an added incentive to winning the Red Bull USA Basketball 3X South Regional was a second slot representing the USA in the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Mexico City Masters.
As the 2021 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X national champion, 3BALL Omaha already had secured its place in Mexico City, so the Charlotte spot goes to 3BALL Select. The reigning champions, 3BALL Omaha have been on quite a roll, winning Red Bull 3X competitions in Raleigh, Oklahoma City, Houston and San Antonio, along with second-place finishes in Chicago and Boston.
So tough was the competition in this regional, the top seed Princeton, featuring Robbie Hummel, Canyon Barry, Damon Huffman and Kareem Maddox, didn’t make it out of pool play.
Bardsley, who was part of a balanced attack for 3BALL Omaha, said, “This has probably been the best tournament in the U.S. since the nationals this (past) summer. We knew going in that all the teams here were really talented, so this is a big one for us.”
The former Jostens Trophy winner as the most outstanding men’s player in NCAA Division III at Nebraska Wesleyan University, who also toured as the opposition for the Harlem Globetrotters as a member of the Washington Generals before moving to 3x3, added, “We’ve been doing the Red Bull circuit, but we knew this was going to be a huge regional with Mexico City on the line. It was going to be really stacked, so we’re happy to win.”
He said the two teams have been practicing together and made some changes to improve both sides chances to win: “We grind in practice, and it’s always good games. The more you play, the better you get, so I thought both teams had a good shot.”
His teammate Travis, a Florida Southern grad who’s played professionally in Germany and Australia, said team chemistry was the key to their success.
“We’re all very unselfish,” Travis said. “We can all shoot the ball. Everyone knows their roles. Big Trey L, he was in the NFL for a month at a training camp for the Broncos, so he’s a beast. Klaye does his thing down low, so we all complement each other really well.”
Big Trey L would be Lansman, who played both basketball and football at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Lansman opted to pursue a pro football career after graduating in 2019. Rowe is a member of the Iowa Central Athletic Hall of Fame and played his college ball at Iowa Central Community College and Bellevue University.
Observing the play was Joe Lewandowski, who coached the USA national team that won the 2019 FIBA 3X3 World Cup, and he also led the USA men in the 3x3 qualification tournament for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“Since we’ve been running these Red Bull events, the talent level has increased tremendously,” Lewandowski said. “We have G League guys, former collegiate guys, and a big part of it is that they are understanding how to play. When these guys are playing on the Red Bull circuit, they are picking up the nuances of the game, and that’s the most difficult part of 3x3.”
Next up on the circuit will be the Red Bull 3X Oakland Local Qualifier on Oct. 23 and the Red Bull 3X West Regional on Oct. 24, also in Oakland.
Charlotte South Regional Results
3BALL Omaha 21, 3BALL Select 6
3BALL Select 21, Harlem 10
3BALL Omaha 9, Sum 2 Prove 1
Sum 2 Prove 21, O’City Cage 19
3BALL Omaha 21, Georgia Fire 17
Harlem 21, No Name Nashville 17
3BALL Select 21, We Dem 13