In addition to the traditional five-on-five basketball competitions that will occur at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we can thank Ice Cube’s Big 3 for making three-on-three hoops so popular that the International Olympic Committee noticed and added it to the Olympic program beginning with this year’s Games.
In the lead-up to All-Star weekend, 11 women will take part at a training camp in Chicago to determine who will advance to the 2020 FIBA 3×3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament in India.
That camp will include Napheesa Collier (Minnesota Lynx), Layshia Clarendon (Connecticut Sun), Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky), Allisha Gray (Dallas Wings), Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces), Katie Lou Samuelson (Chicago Sky), Jackie Young (Las Vegas Aces), Linnae Harper (Chicago Sky), Cierra Burdick (University of Tennessee) and Kelly Faris (UConn).
Two of the athletes taking part in the tournament must be among the top 10 from FIBA’s 3×3 rankings. Six of the 11 (Plum, Gray, Samuelson, Faris, Clarendon, Dolson) are on the FIBA top 10 list and another of those 10 is occupied by Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu.
The 3×3 competition will take place on July 25-29 with eight qualifying teams looking to return to their home nations with gold medals around their necks. Twenty teams will vie for berths to the Games in the 3×3 FIBA Qualifying Tournaments scheduled for March 18-22. This means players such as Ionescu, Burdick and Faris will likely be unavailable because of the NCAA tournament. Team USA will be part of Group A with France, Germany, Uruguay, and Indonesia.
Group B comrprises Iran, Japan, Ukraine, Turkmenistan and Australia while Group C will include Netherlands, Estonia, Belarus, Hungary and Sri Lanka. Italy, Taipei (Taiwan), Switzerland, Spain and India make up Group D.
FIBA will award the eighth spot to a team that did not have a team at the 2012 London Olympics or 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics. The Universality Tournaments will occur in April in Hungary.