From the lec­ture hall to the ball court

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - AUTOZONE - MATTHEW SAL­MONS

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.’’

Hoani Smith

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.