Having gathered in Anykščiai on Sunday for the 3×3 basketball national team’s camp, all its representatives – both basketball players and coaches – got to work immediately and had their first evening practice.
After the practice, team’s head coach Dainius Novickas shared his thoughts on the start of work and the challenges waiting ahead.
„I am pleased that everyone who we had invited came to the training camp. I would like to thank them all. Everyone is excited to be here. All these guys are a part of the growth of 3×3 basketball in Lithuania and been with us since the beginning. We are here to pass on all the inside jokes and start the tradition the same way the national 5×5 team has“, – said D. Novickas
Žydrūnas Urbonas, the head coach of Utena „Juventus“, also works with him at the 3×3 national team training camp. Both coaches prepared a detailed plan with different accent on certain aspects. However, it is not yet planned that any of the thirteen candidates will be cut from the team.
„Coach Urbonas and other staff members made a list of goals what we want to accomplish during this training camp. We want to set the structure on the way we are going to defend and set the basic rules of the playing style. Eventually we will star selecting the final roster. I understand that the time frame until the competition is quite a stretch so we will grow together and see what is ahead of us“, – shared his thoughts D. Novickas.
This training camp is the first of its kind in the history, it marks the beginning of the Lithuanian 3×3 national team’s trip to the Olympics. The most important dates on this trip so far are May 26-30, because on those dates Lithuanians will play in Graz (Austria) to win the right to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. However, in the next few months, this route may be modified by several new destinations.
„We have plans to compete at 4 tournaments in St. Petersburg. There will be national teams from Germany, the Netherlands, Serbia. In addition, we will play in Doha, Qatar. We are planning to host a training camp in Serbia, as well as we are communicating with Latvians to schedule a training camp. We are staying in touch with Belgium whose team will be competing in the same group as us. The Lithuanian national team also has an invitation from the Netherlands. All organisations are preparing for the qualifiers so we will have multiple options“, – D. Novickas shared near future plans of the team.
In the Olympic qualifying tournament, the Lithuanian 3×3 basketball team will be represented by four basketball players. A total of 20 teams will take part in the tournament, of which only three teams will win the right to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.
First of all, the Lithuanian national team will have to take at least the second place in the group of five teams. Lithuanians will play against the USA, Belgiums, South Korea and New Zealand. It will then be mandatory to overcome the quarterfinals barrier. In the end, right to play in Japan would be guaranteed if the Lithuanians win in the semi-finals. In case of an unfortunate scenario in the semi-finals, Lithuanians would then must win the game for the 3rd place.