From the lecture hall to the ball court
Lincoln University (LU) three-onthree basketball teams are taking on the best in the world at the University World Championships in Xiamen, China, next week.
All teams competing in China qualified in their own regions, marking them as their country’s top players.
LU strength and conditioning coach Hoani Smith managed both the mens and women’s teams. Smith said the game’s popularity had exploded following its inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Smith said the newness of the sport meant teams were going in blind to other universities’ skill levels, the international ranking system still in testing prior to the Olympics.
Three-on-three basketball was a much faster game than traditional basketball, or even the five-on-five the Lincoln players were used to. Game length was a maximum of ten minutes, with no stoppages or quarters, on a half court, much like street basketball, Smith said.
‘‘It’s faster, no coaches, no time outs, no changing plays. It’s all down to the athletes. Somehow, they’ve managed to make plays for it.’’
Coaches and managers were
‘‘No coaches, no time outs, no changing plays. It's all down to the athletes.’’
not even permitted at court side.
The game pace kept scores lower than other versions and there were no three-point shots. The maximum points for any one shot was two. If any team scored a total of 21 points they won instantly.
‘‘We got that once in the playoffs here in Christchurch, and that was just against street ballers.’’
Already training for five-onfive games, both teams were training 12 times a week, working on high intensity fitness skills.
The teams would play very different games at the tournament. The women had concentrated on an aggressive game, keeping the pressure high and players near the hoop. The men would need to play a more tactical game as they were generally smaller than their opponents.
‘‘Our players are shooters. Our strength is to create space to shoot. We have to be faster and more accurate,’’ Smith said.
Both teams were playing in the universities’ five-on-five competition, the three-on-three beginning in March and working in around their other games.
The women had a semi-final game against Pioneer the day before leaving to China while the men had to play their semi-final against Checkers the day after returning.
The Lincoln University men’s and women’s three-on-three basketball teams.