PHOENIX - Tiny country Mauritius, who will make their first appearance at an international 3x3 event - the 3x3 Young Lions Cup - aims to give a boost to this game by getting schools involved.
Ahead of the 3x3 Young Lions Cup, organized by FIBA's Foundation (IBF) and scheduled to take place in December in Botswana, the Mauritius Basketball Federation (MBBF) organized a national 3x3 tournament in order to build a competitive team.
The excitement it generated pushed Pascal Prayag, head of the 3x3 commission, to explore new ideas. He opted to have a go at primary and middle schools around Mauritius.
"The idea is to get as many people as possible involved in this project. It will help us have a larger database of players", he told FIBA.basketball.
In this context, the project will be introduced to secondary schools on a pilot basis. 2018 will, therefore, see a middle school championship.
"If we can convince some secondary schools to get involved, we are sure to generate more and more entries for our upcoming events," Prayag went on. "It will be a long-term project. The Mauritius Basketball Federation will contact the local authorities in order to define the content and the proceedings."
The reason behind this approach lies in the spirit of the game. 3x3 basketball is inspired directly from the youth and street culture, widely popular in Mauritius.
Primary schools will also be part of the program, providing the MBBF gets all the necessary clearances.
"It is sure to please and talk to youngsters. Training and development must start when the kids are as young as 6 or 7 years old. This is the best time for them to get involved in the game," Prayag explained.
On the other part, training will also be provided to officials. 3x3 being a new discipline on the island, referees and table officials need to perfect their knowledge of the rules of the game.
"The rules are different, the pace is faster. What we need to do is to get them to learn the fundamentals and things will go smoothly," concluded Prayag.