After world silver, Canada’s 3×3 women’s basketball team wants more support from the association

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The draw of 3×3 basketball is in the name – three players on the court per side, a departure from the sport’s typical 5-a-side format.

But when Canada’s women won silver at the World Championships last month, they did so with a much smaller team than their opponent.

Katherine Plouffe, one of the Canadian players, said France’s gold-medal squad has “about eight” staff, “including physical therapists, medics, analysts and coaches and stuff like that.”

Conversely, Canada’s entourage consisted of four players, a physical therapist and Ron Yeung, Canada Basketball’s director of domestic and 3×3 basketball. Also, two performance analysts were working from home.

“If I come home second at a World Cup, I hope Sport Canada shows it [and] Own The Podium that Canadian women have tremendous potential to win a medal at the Olympics,” said Plouffe.

CLOCK | Canadian women win silver at the world championships:

FIBA 3×3 Basketball World Cup Women’s Gold Medal Game: Canada vs. France

Watch Canada battle France for the gold medal at the FIBA ​​3×3 Basketball World Cup in Antwerp, Belgium.

Neither the men’s nor the women’s team played in Tokyo, the latter due to a qualification quirk that allowed only one gender from most countries to compete for an Olympic spot and the former had not made it through the process.

But with qualifying rules since relaxed, both Canadian teams could reasonably reach Paris 2024.

They say that increased support from Canada Basketball would go a long way toward achieving that goal.

“It would be ideal if not only the team ran the show, but also a coach, more staff and people who can help us get to the top level,” said Plouffe.

‘Only the Beginning’

Plouffe and her sister Michelle, also a two-time Olympian, made the switch to 3×3 full-time in 2019. The Edmonton natives were assisted by Kacie Bosch, of Lethbridge, Alta., and Paige Crozon, of Humboldt, Sask., with the World Cup.

Canada Basketball sent the group to a tuneup tournament ahead of the World Cup. Canada is also hosting three stops in the 3×3 World Series – the first starting Friday in Edmonton – which are produced by local organizations but supported by the national federation.

“Hopefully we’ll grow step by step and get more attention so we can get more resources. But yes, it’s just the beginning. It’s like a baby sport in Canada, so we’re just trying to build it from the ground up up here,” said Michelle Plouffe.

Yeung said that at international events such as the World Cup, Canada Basketball covers travel, accommodation and subsistence expenses while also taking on administrative burdens.

He said Canada Basketball is working on adding a coach for the women’s team – a role that is less urgent than 5-a-side as coaches are not allowed on the court during 3x3s but can sit in the stands and help out between competitions.

“It’s a bit difficult because [the Plouffes, Bosch and Crozon have] have played this game together for so long. Whoever we involve, it would have to be someone who really understands the system, knows the system and has to be able to step in there,” Yeung said.

Call for more 3x3s across the country

Paul Sir was General Manager of 3×3 for Canada Basketball between April 2020 and May 2022. As director of the Alberta Basketball Association for almost 50 years, he was responsible for expanding 3x3s in the country when FIBA ​​introduced the international tour in 2010.

Sir, whose son Steve Sir played for the men’s team during the 2020 Olympic qualifiers, said Alberta Basketball paid out of pocket to fund national 3×3 teams at FIBA ​​events through 2019.

But given the rise of the sport, that should change, Sir said.

“I want to say this respectfully, but I want to say it bluntly, I think: Canada Basketball needs to take 3×3 a lot more seriously than they do right now.”

CLOCK | Canada beats Lithuania in World Cup semifinals:

FIBA 3×3 Basketball World Cup Semifinals: Women Canada vs. Lithuania

The Canadians are battling Lithuania for a place in the final in Belgium.

Sir said the association’s inclusion of the 3×3 national teams in the recently concluded Globl Jam in Toronto, which also included international under-23 tournaments and a senior women’s training camp, was “the tip of the iceberg”.

Every previous iteration of the 3×3 National has been funded by Alberta Basketball, he said.

“We need more support for women. we need more people We need more teams playing consistently across the country for Canada to be part of the international bloodstream of 3×3 because many other countries are investing a lot of resources in 3×3,” Sir said.

Upcoming tournament in Edmonton

Sir said countries from Mongolia (for which Steve is currently a player-coach) to the US and across Europe are pouring “tons of resources” into the game, driving its acceleration and leaving Canada behind.

He commended Steve, Kyle Landry and others for the growth of the sport in Canada over the past decade and said they traveled to 17 tournaments without financial help in 2019 to help position Canada to qualify for the Olympics.

“You are a beacon. But my god, unless you build a foundation around them, they are literally the lighthouse looking out over the sea. But we need ships in the sea to fill the land,” he said.

The Canadians will return to the Edmonton court to continue their silver medal run.

“It would be better to be world No. 1 but looking back it’s amazing how far we’ve come and what we’ve achieved,” said Katherine Plouffe.

From left, Michelle Plouffe, Paige Crozon and Katherine Plouffe celebrate their World Cup semi-final victory. (Tom Goyvaerts/Belga Mag/AFP via Getty Images)

They then travel to tournaments in France and Romania before returning to Canada for events in Quebec City and Montreal. If they accumulate enough wins and points, they will be among the eight teams that qualify for September’s World Tour Finals in Romania.

There are a total of 11 events leading up to the finals, but the Canadians will not take part in all of them. Everything builds on Olympic qualification – if Canada’s men’s and women’s teams are good enough, they’re both allowed to qualify.

Yeung said that since about 30 countries participate in the World Series but only eight or 12 participate in any given tournament, most teams, like Canada, only participate in about five events.

For the time being, the women’s circle will remain narrow. But Michelle Plouffe is happy to have her sister with her.

“We make up half of the team. We spend all our time together and it’s just been a rollercoaster ride. … We had to wear many different hats and play many different roles.

“But to see her step up and just work together and achieve some of the things that we have that mostly go unnoticed but small gains, has just been a true blessing.”

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