U.S. 3×3 basketball teams get one chance to qualify for Olympics

Robbie Hummel
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Mongolia and Romania qualified for the Olympic debut of 3×3 basketball, but the U.S. might not.

Neither the U.S. men nor U.S. women were among the first Tokyo 2020 qualifiers in the new Olympic basketball event announced Friday: Serbia, Russia, China and host Japan for the men. Russia, China, Mongolia and Romania for the women.

Those nations made it via ranking points gained from international 3×3 results (with Japan getting one spot as host nation).

The U.S. must send a men’s and women’s team to India in March for each gender’s Olympic qualifying tournament. Twenty nations per gender will compete for three spots per gender in the Tokyo Games.

Also going are traditional basketball powers — like Spain, France and Lithuania for the men and Australia and France for the women.

If the U.S. qualifies for Tokyo, it will then choose its roster(s) in a similar fashion to its traditional basketball teams — via selection committee. It’s unlikely NBA players will be eligible.

Two of the four players must be ranked in the top 10 among Americans in the FIBA rankings, based on results from the last 12 months, on June 22. The other two must be in the top 100.

That means nobody can make the Olympic team without playing in a FIBA-endorsed 3×3 event, essentially ruling out NBA players who are focused on their club seasons.

Ideally, USA Basketball wants to take an entire 3×3 team that has been playing together. But it could pick and choose players from different teams. The Olympic teams would be named at the latest possible date before the overall July 6 entries deadline for the Games.

The U.S.’ top 10 male players at the moment come from one of two 3×3 teams — NY Harlem and Princeton.

Dominique Jones (Harlem)
Marcel Esonwune (Harlem)
Robbie Hummel (Princeton)
Damon Huffman (Princeton)
Kidani Brutus (Harlem)
Antoinne Morgano (Harlem)
Kareem Maddox (Princeton)
Craig Moore (Princeton)
Zahir Carrington (Princeton)
David Seagers (Harlem)

Princeton, with the most recognizable name from that group in the former Purdue star Hummel, won the world title in June. Harlem outranks Princeton in FIBA points accumulated from global tournaments.

The U.S. has five women ranked in the world top 250: Christyn Williams, Aleah Goodman, Bella Alarie, Michaela Onyenwere and Charli Collier.

3×3 games last 10 minutes, or until one team reaches 21 points. Games are played on a half-court with a 12-second shot clock, and offense immediately turns to defense after a team scores.

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