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Team USA’s 3-on-3 team hopes to win FIBA gold

They liken themselves to the 2017 NBA champion Warriors

Stephen Curry changed the game of basketball, whether you want to believe it or not.

Led by Curry and Kevin Durant, the Golden State Warriors’ impressive shooting was a major contributor to their second NBA championship in three years.

Following the blueprint set by the Warriors, a U.S. team looks to reach championship heights when it travels to France to compete in the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) 3×3 World Cup from June 17-21.

While fans may have hoped NBA superstars such as Durant, LeBron James and James Harden might be headlining this 3-on-3 game roster, the USA team has its own distinct players.

The U.S. team:

  • Zahir Carrington, 6-foot-7, 29 years old, of Lehigh University and Philadelphia.
  • Damon Huffman, 6-foot-1, 31 years old, Brown University and Petoskey, Michigan.
  • Daniel Mavraides, 6-foot-4, 28 years old, Princeton University and Los Angeles.
  • Craig Moore, 6-foot-3, 30 years old, Northwestern University and Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Formerly named Ariel Slow & Steady, the team won the USA Basketball 3×3 National Tournament in April thanks to a combination of the Princeton offense and long-range shooting.

“A lot of teams try to make it an individual game, and they might have great individual talent. But it’s ultimately a team game, and the best team wins. We saw that with the Golden State Warriors,” Carrington said.

The International Olympic Committee recently announced that 3-on-3 basketball would be added to the slate of events at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Olympic Committee believes that adding the 3-on-3 game will appeal to a younger, more urban audience

John Rogers’ company Ariel Investments, which sponsored Ariel Slow & Steady, agrees with this notion.

“There needs to be a sport where kids from the urban communities can have advantages,” Rogers said. “They can shoot really well, pass really well, cut really well, and that will be a winning strategy for 3-on-3 basketball.”

But 3-on-3 isn’t your typical game, with two-point baskets counting as one point and 3s counting as two points. Instead of the one-on-one action seen on most playgrounds, the outcome is predicated on constant movement by the players.

Each game either lasts 10 minutes or ends when one team reaches 21 points. The constant motion creates a much faster pace of play and tests the endurance of the six players on the court.

Team USA seems to be built to withstand the grind. While its roster is small in stature, the players are experienced ball handlers who can also stroke it from long range.

We don’t know yet whether this Team USA will win FIBA gold, but one thing is for sure: Their audience just got a little bigger.

Simone Benson is a junior multimedia journalism major at Morgan State University. She aspires to be a renowned reporter and video journalist.

Donovan Dooley, a multimedia journalism major at N.C. A&T, is one of six Rhoden Fellows, an initiative by The Undefeated to train the next generation of sports journalists from historically black colleges and universities. The fellowship – established as part of The Undefeated’s mission to develop new voices and serve as an incubator for future multicultural journalists – is run by William C. Rhoden, an Undefeated editor-at-large and former award-winning columnist for The New York Times.

C. Isaiah Smalls II is a junior at Morehouse College in Atlanta. He is majoring in cinema, television and emerging media studies and is the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger.