ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla To Coach Team USA Basketball In FIBA 3×3 World Cup
The college ball analyst tells Maxim about his new role as head coach of Team USA’s 3X3 squad.
The best-kept secret in the hardcourt universe is 3X3 basketball, but it will not stay that way for long now that ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla is involved.
What’s more, the United States will be competing in the FIBA 3X3 World Cup 2022 in Belgium this summer, and Fraschilla has is eyes on a prize that currently only American women hold: champions.
Fraschilla has been named head coach of the U.S. national team, but coaching in three-on-three basketball is tricky. He’s not on the court with the team, but up in the stands with the fans (just like in tennis), and the players have to self-police their endurance levels and engineer their own substitutions as the game is being played on the half court.
“If you were making the comparison to track and field, regular basketball is like the 1,500 meters, and 3X3 is like the 200-meter hurdles. It requires very fast and very agile players and intense conditioning, and at these tournaments every possession is life or death,” Fraschilla said in a phone interview Wednesday.
The United States will pick its national team following tryout, a training camp and a tournament over the next two weekends in Springfield, Mass. at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. The biggest event in the growing sport, the 2022 FIBA 3X3 World Cup, takes place June 21-26 in Antwerp, Belgium.
A 20-team field has been drawn, and the United States will compete against the host nation in what will be a big revenge game for the Americans. Belgium is the team that defeated Team USA last summer when the Olympic qualifying tournament was held in Austria.
MaximBet is the only sportsbook in the legalized U.S. sports gambling market setting odds to win the event, with Serbia, Lithuania, Latvia, Belgium and the United States listed as the top-5 favorites.
FIBA 3X3 World Cup Odds
- Serbia +200
- Lithuania +250
- Latvia +300
- Belgium +300
- United States +400
- Netherlands +500
- China +750
- France +800
- Germany +1200
- Mongolia +1500
- Puerto Rico +2000
- Brazil +2000
- Austria +2500
- Poland +2500
- Egypt +3300
- Japan +5000
- Chinese Taipei +7500
- New Zealand +7500
- Chile +10000
Russia would have been among the top teams but was disqualified from competing after that country invaded Ukraine. A 20th team will be added at a later date.
“Not only is every possession like life or death, but this is a sport where there is a culture developing. It is very clearly the next big thing,” said Fraschilla, ESPN’s resident expert on international basketball. “Someday very soon this will not be a secret anymore.”
The rules of 3X3 stipulate a 12-second shot clock, with 2 points awarded for a shot from behind what is commonly known as a 3-point arc and 1 point for any shot made inside the arc. The games are played outdoors on a half-court, and after a made basket, the ball is stays in play but must be brought outside the arc before it can be shot.
“My love of 3X3 comes from playing 3-on-3 when I was growing up in Brooklyn. We want to grow this sport’s popularity. And it is a perfect way station for G-League caliber players wanting to make it to the next level, the NBA,” Fraschilla said. “You have to be both a great ballhandler and a great shooter, and you really have to have a great motor because it is an intense pace of play.”
The Americans were represented last summer by Dominique Jones, formerly of the Dallas Mavericks, three-time First-team All-Big Ten player Robbie Hummel, Princeton grad Kareem Maddox and Minnesota grad Joey King. This year’s four-man roster is not yet known, but among the favorites to make the team are Canyon Barry, son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry, and Charlie Brown Jr. of the Philadelphia 76ers, who played collegiately at St. Joseph’s.
Fraschilla hopes to get the program to a point where the United States can qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris, but job No. 1 will be trying to come out of Belgium with a championship under their belts.
The United States is grouped with Austria, Belgium, Egypt and a team to be determined. The “Group of Death” is considered to be Pool C with Olympic champion Latvia, World Cup silver medalist Netherlands, World Cup 2019 bronze medalist Poland, Japan and China.
Pool B is Lithuania, Mongolia, Chinese Taipei, Germany and Chile. Pool A is four-time world champion Serbia, France, Puerto Rico, Brazil and New Zealand. The winners of each pool qualify for the quarterfinals, and the 2nd and 3rd place teams qualify for a play-in tournament to make the quarters.
The pace is frenetic, and the outdoor setting is something that the NBA has never tried (a canopy will be used in case it rains).
“USA basketball contacted me about three months ago, and I was all-in from the get-go,” Fraschilla said. It’s a growing sport worldwide, an Olympic sport, and hopefully we can get good enough to do what the American women did.”
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