Dominique Jones and his NY Harlem squad didn’t travel across the country to simply hoist a winning Hoopfest bracket while donning the event’s popular championship T-shirt.
The stakes were different, but so was the format of this one-day 3-on-3 tournament on Friday at Nike Center Court.
The first-year Spokane Hoops 3x3 World Invitational on the eve of Hoopfest featured FIBA rules and a cash prize, upping the ante of the tournament’s championship game between Harlem and Edmonton.
“We got families to feed,” said Jones, a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters who plays 3x3 as a job in the summer months. “And family comes first.”
A late two-pointer lifted Harlem, the world’s 10th-ranked FIBA squad, past No. 13 Edmonton in a 21-16 championship decision.
Harlem earned $5,000 for winning the tournament, which featured FIBA-style 10-minute games, a 12-second shot and constant motion.
With the growth of 3-on-3 basketball across the world and the addition of FIBA 3x3 in 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Hoopfest hosted its first eight-team tournament in front of a sizable downtown crowd.
“This was a great atmosphere,” said Jones, who teamed up with Kidani Brutus, Marcel Esonwune and Antoinne Morgano. “But we have to leave early in the morning, so we won’t get to see Hoopfest.”
Edmonton, a Canadian squad which featured former Northern Arizona stars Steve Sir and Kyle Landry, took home $2,500.
Former Saint Mary’s guard Calvin Hermanson and former Santa Clara guard Henry Caruso teamed up on 3Ball Select, which took $1,000 for third place.
Former Eastern Washington University talents Marc Axton and Parker Kelly – members of Lee and Hayes, back-to-back Hoopfest elite champions – again teamed up with Mike Hart (Gonzaga) and Robert Lippman.
Sir, who owns the NCAA Division I career record for 3-point percentage, lauded Harlem, which isn’t loaded with big-college talent but has mastered the 3-on-3 game.
“When you have guys who are quick-thinking and can shoot, and know their spacing, that’s what it comes down to,” Sir said.
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