The Australian men and women are aiming to defend their podium finishes at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup with the announcement of their respective teams for the tournament held in China between May 24-26.
Tom Wright, who won gold at last year’s FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup, will be joined by Tim Coenraad and Greg Hire at this year’s tournament with the trio recently helping to qualify Australia for the 3×3 World Cup in June.
The fourth team member will be Lucas Walker who claimed first place in the Geelong and Darwin NBL Pro Hustle’s while he is also an NBL Champion and 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games gold medalist with the Australian Boomers.
“We have gone bigger with the men’s team,” said National 3×3 Pathway Manager, David Biwer.
“Andrew Steel has a groin strain but that gives us a chance to put Coenraad into the shooter role and Walker into the big man spot.
“A lot of teams we come up against are bigger than us but we have the fight of a lion and some size as well now.”
The women will be led by Australia’s number one 3×3 player in Bec Cole and she will be joined by Alice Kunek after they both helped their country qualify for the 3×3 World Cup earlier this month.
Maddie Garrick returns to the green and gold after winning bronze at the 2018 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup alongside Cole while Hanna Zavecz rounds out the team after impressing in the NBL Pro Hustle’s.
“We have an alternative look with these teams from the World Cup qualifiers,” said Biwer.
“Hanna has amazing IQ and can steady the ship alongside some great shooters in Kunek and Garrick and we all know what Cole can do.
“We’re still looking at the best combinations for the World Cup so this tournament is an important one for us as a country but also for the players to perform.”
Australia has an easier road through the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup compared to last year without the need to advance through the qualifying stage.
“Our 3×3 history has given us some reward and our higher seeding now gives us a chance to get a look at other teams as we won’t be the first to hit the court,” said Biwer.
Both teams will play two group stage games with the men taking on a winner out of the qualifying draw as well as Mongolia, the team they defeated in overtime to win gold last year, while the women face New Zealand and the number one ranked team in China.
“It’s going to be an amazing battle against Mongolia for the men. We have a bit of history now and they can match our physicality so we’re looking forward to that one.”
With three teams in each pool, Australia can advance to the finals by finishing in the top two. The Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and medal games will then be run on the last day of competition.
The FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup is another step in a busy period for Australia that continues with the FIBA 3×3 World Cup from June 18-23 as well as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Australia’s teams for the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup:
|Tim Coenraad||Bec Cole|
|Greg Hire||Maddie Garrick|
|Lucas Walker||Alice Kunek|
|Tom Wright||Hanna Zavecz|
Australia’s schedule at the 2019 FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup (all times AEST):
May 24: Men vs. Qualifying Draw B1 at 7.20pm
May 24: Women vs. New Zealand at 8.15pm
May 24: Men vs. Mongolia at 10.15pm
May 24: Women vs. China at 11.05pm
May 26: Men’s and Women’s Finals between 2.10pm-10.30pm