Luke Schenscher set to lead Aussie 3X3 team in Mongolia

CLB3X3 Townsville | Credit: CLB3X3

CLB3X3 Summer Series Champions Townsville are set to fly the Australian flag in Mongolia, taking part in the FIBA 3X3 Ulaanbaatar Challenger event from June 3-4. They will be led by NBL journeyman and former NBA center Luke Schenscher, whose side has aspirations of upsetting the world’s best 3X3 teams who are set to take part in the event.

16 teams from all across the globe will converge on Ulaanbaatar, yet Schenscher will be without his former Townsville Crocodiles team-mate and London Olympian Peter Crawford, who was an integral player in the side’s successful Melbourne win. Crawford, who is currently starring with the Townsville Heat in the QBL, was unable to gain a release from team management. It is a blow that Schenscher is hoping to overcome, with experienced 3X3 baller Josh Garlepp (SBL) joining the team alongside Tim Keating (QBL) and Cameron Springall (Waratah).

“I’m pretty heated about it, to be honest,” said Schenscher speaking with Boti Nagy prior to departing for Australia. “It’s really unfortunate because with everything PC [Crawford] has done and does for Townsville basketball, he now gets a chance to represent Townsville and Australia on a world stage in a FIBA-sanctioned event, and the Heat won’t release him for one game.

“This is a qualifying tournament for the World Tour and if we finish top-two, we go on.”

“This is the first time an Australian 3X3 team has had a genuine shot at qualifying for a spot at the World Tour in Japan in July, and then the FIBA3X3 World Tour Final in Dubai later in the year, and we are going to give it all we have over the next two days,” further added Schenscher in a press release.

Despite the set-back, Schenscher was able to secure Garlepp as a late addition to the team, and is excited about representing Townsville and Australia in speaking exclusively with Live Sport Australia from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

“It’s definitely not a country that I’d ever thought I would be visiting, so its pretty special,” said Schenscher on playing in Mongolia.

“It will feel pretty surreal,” he further added on stepping onto the court for the first time. “The court has been set up in the main square, so hopefully there will be lots of people around. All the guys [other International players] are coming in now to the hotel that we will be playing against. I think there is a bit of a buzz that is building, so I am really excited to go out there, and obviously represent Townsville and Australia on this world stage.”

Supported by Coca-Cola Mongolia and the Mongolian 3X3 Association, Coca-Cola CEO Myagmarjav Lubsandash spoke enthusiastically about hosting the event.

“The event is the last of it’s kind for 2017 as far as qualifying goes for the World Tour in Tokyo, Japan, but the first of many 3×3 events to be held in Mongolia”, said Myagmarjav. “Basketball is a very popular sport here and we have high hopes of where this could go.”

The Townsville side will be coming up against the best 3X3 teams in the world in Ulaanbaatar in what is shaping as a red-hot field. Novi Sad of Serbia are the clear favourites ahead of Slovenia’s Ljubljana who are the respective 1 and 2 seeds in the tournament. Novi Sad boast three of the top 4 players in the world rankings, and are multiple champions on the FIBA3X3 World Tour. Townsville as the 12th seed have been drawn in Pool D alongside 4th seed Liman (Serbia), 5th seed São Paulo (Brazil), and local 13th seed Khovd (Mongolia).

With their opening contest scheduled to be against São Paulo, Townsville will need to be ready to step up to the challenge from the first whistle, with all three pool games completed by the end of day 1. Only the top 2 teams from each pool qualify for the knock-out quarterfinals, so every contest will be important.

In speaking about playing 3X3 basketball and the growth of the sport back home, Schenscher was excited for its future.

“It is something that can really take hold in Australia,” said Schenscher.

With FIBA campaigning for the 3X3 version of the game to be included as an Olympic sport for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the time is now according to Champions League Basketball Marketing Manager Yvette Williams.

“We are still waiting for the highly anticipated announcement on whether or not 3X3 will become an Olympic sport, which is scheduled for July 9 2017 and countries competing and doing well on the 3×3 stage already will have that slight edge over other countries,” said Williams from Ulaanbaatar.

With a successful campaign in Mongolia, Schenscher and his side are sure to help boost the profile of the sport down under. With a tournament victory, they can secure a lucrative place in the FIBA3X3 World Tour.

All finals will be streamed live on the FIBA3X3 You Tube channel.

Townsville’s Schedule (all times AEST)

Saturday, 3 June
Game 1: 5:20pm vs São Paulo (Brazil)
Game 2: 7:40pm vs Khovd (Mongolia)

Sunday, 4 June
Game 3: 5:20pm vs Liman (Serbia)
Quarter Finals: from 6:00pm
Semi Finals: from 8:00pm
Grand Final: 9:30pm

Schedule and Results

Damian Arsenis

Written by

A patriotic and passionate follower of all things #AussieHoops. With a Master of Marketing, I am a Life Member of the Warrandyte Basketball Association, Level 2 qualified coach and referee, podcaster, and proud father of three girls.

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