Australian have been selected to take part in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup Qualifiers to be played in San Juan, Puerto Rico on May 4-5 for the chance to secure the last three tickets available to the men’s and women’s World Cup in Amsterdam, Netherlands from June 18-23.
FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2018 winners Australia have been grouped with hosts Puerto Rico, Czech Republic and Romania in Group B in the men’s draw. On the women’s side, Asia Cup 2018 bronze medalists Australia will join Estonia, Uganda and hosts Puerto Rico in Pool A.
Australia’s men enter the event as the 32nd ranked nation in the world, well behind Pool B rivals Romania (15th) and the Czech Republic (18th), with the hosts coming in at 34th. In women’s event, Australia enters proceedings with a world ranking of 27, a number that pales in comparison to 7th ranked Estonia. Uganda is ranked 21st, while Puerto Rico ranks a lowly 63.
The two countries that advance to the event final for both men and women will book their tickets to the World Cup, while the playoff for third will determine the last remaining World Cup participant.
In Basketball Australia’s release, the process to select teams will commence with a selection camp in late March, with short-listed players being entered in the 3×3 Pro Hustle Tour to help boost their points. In reality, entering in any FIBA 3×3 sanctioned event will help boost their points.
According to FIBA 3×3 regulations, two of the country’s top 10 FIBA 3×3 ranked players must be included in the final team of four, with the world governing body of the sport recommending that the national federation maintain a squad of 10 from which to select a team from for both men and women.
In their 2018 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup gold medal-winning campaign, Australia were represented by Tommy Garlepp, Andrew Steel, Tom Wright and Owen Odigie. Steel is Australia’s lone player ranked inside the world top 100, sitting in 99th position, while Garlepp (132nd) and Wright (134th) are the only other men ranked inside the world’s top 150 players.
Bec Cole, Carlie Smith, Keely Froling and Maddie Garrick were all part of the bronze medal side from last year’s Asia Cup. Cole, who earned All-Star selection, is Australia’s highest ranked player at 89 and the only one inside the top 250 players in the world.
Australia’s ability to qualify either team for the World Cup would bely their international status and ranking in the shorter form of the game. However with the talent available, the task to do so is not insurmountable.