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David Ramsey: 2020 Olympics will introduce world to 3 on 3 basketball

March 25, 2018 Updated: March 26, 2018 at 10:12 am
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The 2018 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championships were being held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center this weekend. Uncluded were five teams from Colorado, as well as teams from across the country. T.J. Boykins (left), Castle Rock, fights for the ball with Adem Osmani from Oak Lawn, Ill., during a game on Sunday, March 25, 2018. Boykins father, Earl Boykins, was a guard who played with the Denver Nuggets from 2003-2007. Boykins plays for Douglas County High School. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

A quick tip about 3 on 3 half-court basketball, which will be introduced to the world at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:

If you record a game, make sure to be precise. If you’re 15 minutes off, you could miss the entire contest.

On Sunday, the men’s and women’s under-18 national championships at the Olympic Training Center both zoomed past in 16 minutes.

Have a short attention span? This is the game for you.

And if you can drain shots from beyond 22 feet, this is your game, too. Games run with a 10-minute clock, but games end when a team hits 21 points. Shots inside the arc count for one point, and shots outside the arc ring up two points, or the equivalent of a four-pointer in a 5 on 5 game.

If you’re a master of the mid-range shot, it’s time to despair. The 3 on 3 game continues our world’s attack on the 15-foot jumper, which already was on the endangered list. The 15-foot shot could soon join dinosaurs and VCR tapes on history’s junkpile.

I enjoyed the title games. The 3 on 3 games have a different vibe than  traditional full-court 5 on 5 battles, and I wonder how 3 on 3 will translate to the TV screen. It might make for good Olympic TV, or it might make for a 15-minute blur.

But 3 on 3 offers more opportunities to a world that grows deeper and deeper in love with basketball. While riding on the public bus in Rio or Cape Town, you’ll never see a Von Miller jersey, but you could very well see a Carmelo Anthony jersey. Basketball has joined soccer as a true world game.

Both of Sunday’s game were won by Quest, a collection of gifted select players being groomed for the national team. Quest, in both games, boasted superior size and athleticism, but that two-point (four-point) shot served as the great equalizer. The title games were close and dramatic and fun.

The men’s MVP Patrick McCaffery spends most of his time in the lane, where he frustrates defenders with a wide variety of moves.

Still, even McCaffery supports the two-point (four-point) shot.

“I like that shot because it gives teams a chance,” he said “We could score every time we wanted in the paint, but the other teams could stay close because of that shot.”

FIBA Basketball oversees the 3 on 3 on the world stage, and the organization has taken care to make sure the United States fails to gain a stranglehold on 3 on 3 goal in the way it rules the full-court game.

To play 3 on 3 in the Olympics, a player must accumulate a certain number of points playing 3 on 3. This means a United States player who isn’t quite good enough to make the full-court Olympic team will not be able to hop over to the national 3 on 3 squad.

And there’s one other key rule. You know the hackers who seem to lurk at every blacktop court and most YMCA night leagues? The players who viciously foul at every chance? The doofs trying to imitate Kenyon Martin?

The rule makers of 3 on 3 are seeking to eradicate those evil hackers. On the first six shooting fouls, the fouled player is awarded a shot at one point. After six team fouls, the fouled player is awarded two shots, or the chance at the equivalent of four points. After nine team fouls, the fouled player is awarded two shots and possession.

Beware, you hackers and mid-range jump shooters. You are in peril.

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