2022 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals Champions Crowned
USA Basketball crowned a new pair of champions at the 2022 Red Bull USA Basketball 3X Nationals on Sunday in Springfield, Massachusetts, following three days of competition that featured 15 men’s team and 12 women’s squads from across the country. Clinching titles were Team Harlem (men) and (women). The annual 3X Nationals provide a pathway to being considered for USA Basketball 3x3 national teams that compete in international events, including the 3x3 World Cup and the men’s and women’s FIBA 3x3 pro tours.
Day 3 Recap
En route to a semifinal berth, Team Harlem took an early 3-2 lead over The Four Friends at the 8:37 mark and didn’t trail from there, winning by an eventual tally of 21-15. Harlem used its 2-point shooting prowess to help secure the victory as the team hit six 2s, including four by Kidani Brutus.
Dream and 3BALL Nebraska played in a back-and-forth second quarterfinal. With a four-point lead and one 2-pointer away from the win (19-15), 3BALL Nebraska looked poised to capture the victory before a four-point swing from Dream tied the game 19-19. A James Parrot two with 2:33 remaining secured a win and a semifinal spot for 3BALL.
NY Select teammates Nick Leon and Dave Seagers scored nine points each to propel their team to a win over Cage. The game was knotted at 8 with 6:33 to play after a 2-pointer by David Godbold. From there, NY Select went on an 8-0 run over the next 3:10 to take a 16-8 lead. The game ended on a pair of Leon free throws to bring the game to its 21-13 conclusion.
A back-and-forth contest, the game ended at the free throw line after Top ’ Jared Wilson-Frame sent 3BALL Omaha’s Dylan Travis to the stripe for a pair of free throws with the reigning champion Omaha at 20 points. Travis missed the first free throw before hitting the second to secure the 21-18 win. Travis, with six total points, joined each of his teammates by hitting a pair of 2s each.
The men’s semi-finals featured four undefeated teams. The first pair to meet was Team Harlem and 3BALL Nebraska. Dominique ‘Disco Domo’ Jones, who led Harlem with nine points and four assists, paced the team in a 21-14 victory.
3BALL Omaha had an opportunity to go back to the finals for a rematch with Team Harlem. They continued their hot 2-point shooting, taking a 21-15 victory over NY Select. In his first 3X Nationals, Justin Jaworski hit five of the team’s eight from beyond the arc and totaled a game-high 10 points. Omaha closed the game a 6-1 run.
In a rematch of the 2021 finals, Team Harlem sought to avenge a one-point loss from a year ago. Finals MVP Jones looked like a man on a mission, putting his scoring abilities on display while racking up the Harlem’s first four points. He finished 10 points, a personal-best for the tournament, leading Harlem to a 21-15 W.
“It feels great, it’s been a long time coming,” Jones said after winning his first 3X Nationals championship. “I’ve been involved in about five 3X Nationals and came up short in them all. I left a lot of things on the table last year, so I had to come out here and make sure I left it all out on the floor.”
Omaha would cut the lead to four (19-15), but Harlem’s Marcel (four points) and Antoine Morgano (three points) finished the game with the final two buckets. Brutus added three points in his first 3X Nationals championship as the team’s only new member.
3BALL Omaha had a balanced effort, with Anthony Spencer (five points), Dylan Travis (four), Jaworski (three) and Mitch Hahn (three) contributing.
The women’s quarterfinals opened with and Athletes Unlimited. Following a close start, pulled away and won 21-8. Their defense held AU to a series of 1-pointers. Lauren Cox, who led the team in scoring (eight points), took advantage of AU on the boards and controlled the paint with four blocks.
Iowa State won handedly over Seattle Force 10, 21-9. Ashley Joens had nine points, including eight of the team’s last 10.
Rain City Force 10 and Kansas State was another lopsided matchup, with Rain City taking the win 21-8. Rain City Force 10 was led by Keyona Hayes, who had her best scoring performance of the weekend with nine points.
The last quarterfinal game of the day was between Stanford and Tennessee. Stanford used a 7-0 run in the middle of the game to take a 14-7 lead with 3:16 remaining. The cushion allowed the Cardinal to withstand a late scoring flurry from Tennessee and get the 17-14 victory. Stanford’s Brooke Demetreled a balanced team scoring effort with six points. Tamari Key scored nine of Tennessee’s points on the morning.
In a matchup of undefeated teams, edged Iowa State 21-19 to reach the 3X Nationals finals. Cox paced the team with eight points. The Cyclones had won by an average of 10.8 points in their four victories to reach the semifinals and once again received outstanding contributions from Joens, who scored a game-best 10 points and hit four 2s.
Rain City Force 10 and Stanford would meet up in the second semifinal game. Rain City, looking to punch its ticket back to the finals, took a quick 10-1 lead. Refusing to back down, Stanford cut the lead to just three (13-10) with just under two minutes remaining. In the end, a Blake Dietrick 2 followed by a Camille Zimmerman layup would seal the 16-12 win as time expired.
Finals MVP Kianna Smith led to victory in the team’s first trip to the 3X Nationals, defeating 2021 3X Nationals champion Rain City Force 10 by a tally of 22-15. Smith scored eight points total, including five straight between the 7:35 and 6:35 marks to give the team a 9-5 edge. Her contributions were part of a larger 8-3 run that saw start to control the game. She got the team to 20 points with 1:28 to play, setting up Kayla Wells for a game-winning 2-pointer with 26.7 seconds remaining in regulation.
Smith, who recently graduated from Louisville, was a late addition to the squad, joining teammates Wells, Cox and Joanne Allen Taylor on Thursday in Springfield after the newly formed team had had a few days of practice.
“Getting the call was super unexpected, but I knew that I just wanted another opportunity to play,” Smith said. “You don’t get better by training all the time. You get better by playing, and 3x3 is the best at that. You be able to create, defend and score quickly, so I knew right away that I wanted to come.”
Rain City Force 10 was led by Zimmerman and Dietrick who each had five points in the effort.
How Teams Got Here
Teams earned their spots in 3X Nationals through the Red Bull 3X regional qualifying tournaments last fall or via an at-large invitation from USA Basketball.
3X Nationals provides a pathway to being selected to USA Basketball 3x3 national teams that will compete this summer in events including the 3x3 World Cup and the men’s and women’s FIBA pro tours.
Jen Rizzotti, head coach of USA Basketball’s 2022 FIBA 3x3 Women’s Series Team and longtime USA Basketball and collegiate coach, is one of the in attendance to not only watch, but evaluate the pool of players participating in 3X Nationals.
“This weekend is obviously an opportunity for a bunch of teams to come in and compete for a championship, but it’s also a chance for USA Basketball to evaluate talent to fill up a couple teams that will be playing this summer,” Rizzotti said. “It’s a chance for me to get eyes on future talent and put together a team that can help USA Basketball be competitive this summer.”
The USA Basketball 3x3 men’s and women’s selection committees are ultimately charged with evaluation of players who will make up the national teams as USA Basketball will field teams for 3x3 World Cup (men and women), Men’s Pro Tour, Women’s Series, U23 Nations League (men and women), U23 World Cup (women) and AmeriCup (men and women).