Following on from the success of the National 3on3 Championships for U14 and U18 boys and girls last year, Basketball Ireland are expanding their programme this year to include a senior championships with the winners being sent to Europe to represent Ireland.
3on3 is both a new and an old form of the game. It does pretty much what it says on the tin so to speak and pits teams of three players against each other as opposed to the five versus five of traditional basketball.
Played for generations as part of training sessions and in courts across the world as an informal pick-up version of the game, it has been given a new lease of life in recent years with official backing from FIBA, the governing body for international basketball.
While the basic rules of the game are the same, there are a number of noticeable differences. For starters, only one basket is used, restricting the game to half of a traditional basketball court. When a team scores, the opposing team restarts the game from the top of the three point line, attacking the same basket.
In official games and tournaments, games last 10 minutes, or until the first teams reaches 21 points, and once a team gains possession of the ball it has 12 seconds to attempt a shot. The clock is stopped for all dead-ball situations and restarts as soon as it is in the offensive team’s hands. In case scores are equal after regular time, overtime will be played until the first team scores two points.
The rules are suited for elite international competition, but can be easily adapted to games played with little or no equipment other than a basketball and a hoop.
The fun and fast paced nature of the game was on full view last summer in Gormanston College where the U14 and U18 National Championships were held as 240 players took to the courts.
“It was great to see so many kids playing and enjoying 3on3 in a structured national tournament,” said Matt Hall, competition manager.
“A lot of them would be very used to playing a form of 3on3 amongst themselves but that was the first time they had played for an official title. It was a great start and a lot of fun and something that is really going to grow over the next few years, particularly as FIBA Europe have really gotten behind the initiative.”
This year’s championships will likely be a much larger event again as a national initiative, funded by the €10,000 received from the Coca-Cola Thank You Fund, will be rolled out on a national basis throughout local area boards. Games will be tournament based and aimed at young men and women, introducing more people to the game.
Indeed, FIBA Europe will this summer be running a Senior European Championships for which 29 countries have entered Men’s teams and a further 23 have entered Women’s teams.
Basketball Ireland is one of the federations to have entered a team in both, all that remains is to select the players that will represent them!
“Discussion are ongoing about the format of 3×3 National competitions for Senior Men and Senior Women but they will carry with them a prize of entry into an official FIBA Europe tournament during the summer in mainland Europe,” said Matt Hall.
Initial ideas are that all Men’s and Women’s Basketball Ireland Premier and Division One teams will be invited to enter at least one squad of 5 players and the winners will be on a plane heading to represent Ireland on a European stage.
The competition will also be open to all clubs outside of the major national leagues in Ireland.
Any player looking to register their interest in this (does not matter if you are a player, a coach or club secretary) then send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org