The arrival of the new 3X3 Premier basketball league in Christchurch could well be the catalyst to keeping more adults playing the game.
St Andrews College Basketball head coach Aled Jones certainly thinks so.
Whilst the sport continues its impressive growth at High School and Primary School level, it does, like most sports, suffer from drop off once those students head to university and into the work force.
But Jones says, ‘a lot of kids go from high school and there’s not really a direct pathway if you don’t make it in NBL or ANBL. A lot of people fall by the wayside, so there’s going to be a ton of people who wished they kept playing basketball with these new opportunities coming out.’
Jones, a small man in basketball terms, has put his hand up for the Atami Club, looks tailor made for the shortened format. ‘3 on 3 is completely different from 5 on 5. The speed of it is a lot more than 5 on 5, in 5 on 5 you can kind of hide a bit on defence whereas here you’re active the whole time. There’s no real out of bounds, it’s just grab the ball and go so little guys with speed and agility and a good motor are really going to benefit in this game.’
With the shortened version now included in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, as well as the full format 5 aside competition, the sport was already readying itself for further interest. But it seems the Japanese run 3×3 XEX Premier League has already started the wave offering the winner of the Christchurch Competition the chance to win US$20,000.
‘The opportunities that are coming out nowadays with this 3 on 3 opportunity and a lot of international tours is massive for the sport,’ Jones went on to say.
‘We put a text out amongst our club to see who would be interested, everyone replied within 5-10 minutes saying yes, yes, yes, yes!’
While venues are yet to be announced the competition will run across eight rounds during the below dates.
- Round 1, 18-19 May
- Round 2, 8-9 June
- Round 3, 22-23 June
- Round 4, 6-7 July
- Round 5, 20-21 July
- Round 6, 3-4 August
- Round 7, 17-18 August
- Round 8, 24-25 August
- 3×3 XEX Playoffs in Tokyo, 7-8 September