The spectacular half-court version of basketball known as 3x3 returns to Mount Maunganui’s Harbourside Netball Centre from 9am on Saturday.
The 3x3 Quest Tour will be held at seven locations around the country between January and March, with Mount Maunganui the second stop on the tour.
Interest in 3x3 has increased dramatically since the three-a-side game was included in the list of sports to contest the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
David Huxford, Basketball New Zealand 3x3 and National Events Manager, is expecting somewhere between 30 to 40 teams to be involved on Saturday. It is open to all age categories.
“This will be five years it has been held at the Mount. It has had a boom where it really grew and then stalled a bit, and then there was the Olympic announcement and so it went up again,” says David.
“We are finding it is really popular with the guys but we would love to see more women and girls come along and play.”
In a similar way to how the skill sets of sevens rugby players differ from fifteens, 3x3 basketball has its own unique qualities and challenges for players.
David says the 3x3 skills do compliment the traditional basketball game but it does not mean if you are a good five-a-side player you will make the grade as a 3x3 player.
“Players have to be thinkers in 3x3. There is no coaching allowed during a game and it is also really fast and in 10 minutes it is all over and done with.”
For the men’s top teams there is an opportunity to take on some of the world’s best 3x3 players.
From the tour, the open men’s grade winners go to a 2019 World Tour qualifier to be held in Auckland on March 9. Win there and they are off to the World Tour final to be held overseas which is fully funded by Basketball NZ.
The 2019 Secondary Schools 3x3 Championships will be held in Tauranga from March 27-29. Registrations close on February 27. Details www.nz.basketball