Australia's 3X3 program is starting to take shape following the announcement of the men’s and women’s teams for the 2018 FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup.
Under the leadership and experience of Australia's first 3X3 head coach in Dave Biwer, the women return to defend their title won in 2017, while the men will be looking to improve on the bronze they won last time around when they arrive in Shenzen, China for the event starting on 27 April 2018.
2017 FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup Australian Women | Credit: FIBA
Australia's number 1 ranked 3X3 player Andrew Steel makes his return alongside fellow 2017 bronze medalist Owen Odigie. They are joined by Sydney King Tom Garlepp and Nunawading Spectres SEABL star Tom Wright to round out the team of four who have taken aim at winning gold.
Carlie Smith is the lone representative from the gold medal winning 2017 side, however she is joined by FIBA 3X3 World Cup representative and Melbourne Boomers star Bec Cole. Cole's WNBL team mate Maddie Garrick and Canberra Capitals rising star Keely Froling will make their international 3X3 debuts.
While the teams were announced for the 2018 FIBA 3X3 Asian Cup, an extended squad has been announced that allows the Australian 3X3 program to finally take shape. 2017 FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup bronze medalists Lucas Barker and Darcy Harding have been named to the men's squad along with 2017 SEABL MVP Simon Conn who has been starring in 3X3 events across Australia as part of the successful Spectres iAthletic squad. They are joined by NBL veterans Anthony Petrie, Oscar Forman, Peter Crawford and Tommy Greer.
Intriguingly, Australia's number 2 ranked male, Tim Keating, has not been included in the extended squad. Keating was a member of the CLB3X3 Townsville side that played in the FIBA 3X3 Challenger event in Mongolia in 2017. His omission from the squad is puzzling to say the least.
On the extended women's squad are a host of players with international FIBA 3X3 experience. 2017 FIBA 3X3 World Cup representatives Carley Mijovic, Amelia Todhunter and Nadeen Payne all have been named, while 2017 FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup gold medalists Chantella Pererra and Sarah McAppion have all been included. Melbourne Boomers star Monique Conti rounds out a very impressive Australian women's 3X3 program.
Another interesting non-selection to either team or squad was that of 2017 FIBA 3X3 Asia Cup MVP Isabelle Bourne who took the last event played by storm.
The 2018 FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup begins on April 27 when both Australian teams will have to advance to the official tournament through a tough qualifying draw.
The men must finish on top of Group B against Indonesia, Iran, Samoa, Guam and Hong Kong and if they are successful, they will take on New Zealand and Kazakhstan in Pool D of the official tournament.
The women will come up against Sri Lanka, Thailand and Samoa and if they finish that qualifying draw on top, they will take on Japan and Iran starting April 29.
The men's and women's teams comprise of players who have been starring in CLB3X3 and 3X3 Hustle events around Australia. Carlie Smith and Peter Crawford will both be in action in this weekend's CLB3x3 Townsville event. A number of Australian players are like to suit up in 3X3 Pro Hustle events taking place in April and May where $15,000 in prize money will be on offer.
A FIBA 3X3 Challenger tournament will also be held in Sydney at Circular Quay from May 19-20 when 11 teams from across the Asia-Pacific and Europe will take on five Australian teams that finished in the top five of the Pro Hustle series.
Australian FIBA 3X3 Asian Cup Teams
Andrew Steel Owen Odigie Tom Garlepp Tom Wright
Maddie Garrick Bec Cole Carlie Smith Keely Froling
Men: Anthony Petrie, Oscar Forman, Peter Crawford, Tommy Greer, Darcy Harding, Lucas Barker, Simon Conn
Women: Monique Conti, Carley Mijovic, Amelia Todhunter, Nadeen Payne, Chantella Pererra, Sarah McAppion