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Familiar faces as Australia names 3x3 World Cup teams
The Australian men's and women's teams have been announced by Basketball Australia for the 2019 FIBA 3x3 World Cup that will be held in Amsterdam from 18-23 June.
There are no surprises either, with the teams boasting familiar faces from their recent World Cup qualification campaign and Asia Cup gold medal victories.
Tom Wright, Tim Coenraad, Greg Hire are rejoined by Andrew Steel who returns from injury. He regained his place in the squad from Nunawading Spectres team mate Lucas Walker who stepped in to replace him after he was injured in the World Cup qualifiers. Steel and Wright, Australia's highest ranked players, have been the mainstays of the Australian national team, and will spearhead the men's assault on a first ever world title.
"All five guys that have played for us in recent months have been fantastic but to bring Andrew back from injury adds another dimension to the team with his shooting ability," said National 3x3 Pathway Manager, David Biwer in the official release.
"Tom is coming off an MVP at the Asia Cup and with more and more experience, Greg and Tim are blossoming."
The Australian women's team is the hottest in the world right now. They are currently on a 12-0 run in international competition following their World Cup qualification, Asia Cup gold, and then winning the inaugural Women's Series event in Chengdu, China. Bec Cole, Maddie Garrick and Alice Kunek all return for a tilt at the world title, while Keely Froling replaces Hanna Zavecz and keeps out Marena Whittle, both who were part of the build up.
“Her outstanding performance at the qualifier sees Keely come back into the team,” said Biwer.
“Hanna and Marena have been stars and the performances of all six players who have represented us recently gave the selection committee a lot to think about. But Maddie shone at the Asia Cup and since then, she has really excelled alongside Alice and Bec who have been unbelievable.
“On a 12-game winning streak, the women should walk into the World Cup with belief which is a great way to play.”
Cole was named tournament MVP at the Asian Cup, while Kunek took the same honours most recently in Chengdu. With the Aussie women in terrific form, they will ebter the World Cup as one of the form teams in the evemt.
"Coming up against some good teams at the World Series will help to put them in a favourable mindset," said Biwer. "The three medalists at that tournament came from Asia so the strength of the Asia Cup will help our preparation as well.
"The women are at that perfect level where they know they can compete with the best but will have to work and play together to get the wins."
Ranked 21 in the world, the Australian women will face Andorra (33rd), Switzerland (16th), Japan (7th) and France (5th) in their group stage and know that they have the team with the talent, experience and form to win through.
Entering the tournament ranked 34 in the world, the Australian men will take on Brazil (12th), Poland (16th), Latvia (5th) and Japan (6th) in the group stage and know that they wil have thier work cut out for them.
"Experience and talent-wise, the men can be on par with the best at the tournament," added Biwer. "Having never played at a World Cup, they will have to step up to another level but these guys are confident players and I know they are aiming for, and believe they can reach, the podium."
20 teams, divided into four pools, will compete for the FIBA 3x3 World Cup with the top two teams from each pool advancing to the Quarter-Finals.
All games will be live streamed via the FIBA 3x3 YouTube channel.
Australia’s schedule at the 2019 FIBA 3x3 World Cup
All times AEST.
June 19: Australian men vs Brazil at 12:25am June 19: Australian men vs Poland at 3:05am June 20: Australian women vs Andorra at 12:25am June 20: Australian women vs Switzerland at 3:05am June 21: Australian men vs Latvia at 12:25am June 21: Australian men vs Japan at 3:05am June 22: Australian women vs Japan at 12:25am June 22: Australian women vs France at 3:05am June 22-23: Women's Quarter-Finals between 11pm-4:15am June 22-23: Men's Quarter-Finals between 11:30pm-4:45am June 23: Women's Semi-Finals at 10:10pm or 10:40pm June 23-24: Men's Semi-Finals at 11:20pm or 12:05am June 24: Women bronze medal at 1:40am, gold medal at 2:50am June 24: Men's bronze medal at 2:10am, gold medal at 3:30am