Reigning champs USA face early challenges at FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup
23 Aug 2021
DEBRECEN (Hungary) - USA are set to be challenged early as they aim to continue their domination of the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup with the upcoming edition to be played on August 24-30.
The high-profile event makes a return after a one year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic with mighty USA hoping to match their historic double struck at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup 2019 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The USA men's team will be seeking back-to-back crowns having won their first ever title in this event in 2019.
They will bring a formidable team headlined by much-hyped Keyonte George, who is tipped to be a top 5 NBA 2022 Draft prospect, and excitement machine Kyle Filipowski with the 2.10m (6ft 10in) prodigy recently committing to US college power Duke.
USA has been drawn in a tough Pool D, which might just have to be renamed the 'Group of Death'.
No.4 seed Estonia, No.5 Latvia and No.12 Slovenia should all prove formidable opponents for USA with only the top two teams from the pool progressing.
No.1 seed Kazakhstan headline Pool A and will come to Hungary confident with their top ranked player Radislav Rodionov playing well in recent domestic events.
They are set to be challenged by No.9 Brazil, No.15 Indonesia and No.16 Ukraine.
No.2 seed Russia, who have a history of performing well in under aged 3x3 competitions and just missed a podium finish in 2019, will be the team to beat in Pool B, which also features No.7 seed Dominican Republic, No.10 Lithuania, No.14 Hungary and everyone's favorite underdog Mongolia.
No.3 seed Egypt, who boast a tall and athletic line-up, are top-ranked in Pool C and battle No.6 Belarus, No.11 Germany, No.13 Romania and No.18 Israel.
In the women's, USA are aiming to continue their stranglehold of this event with the four-time champions pitted in Pool B.
They once again have a lot of firepower and there will be much focus on the high-flying Ayanna Patterson. If you follow her on social, you know the 17-year-old can dunk. Will she get a chance to show one in Hungary this week?!?
The USA won't have it easy in Pool B as they face No.2 Russia, No.7 Belarus, No.10 Mongolia and No.14 Slovenia.
No.1 seed Egypt headline Pool A and will unleash top-ranked Nermin Soliman, who has impressed in recent local competitions. No.8 Netherlands, No.9 Ukraine, No.15 Spain and No.16 Romania round out the group.
Pool C is headed by No.3 Germany followed by No.6 Latvia, No.11 Indonesia and No.18 Israel.
Last but not least, Pool D is set to be a fierce battle with only two of No.5 Estonia, No.12 Hungary and No.13 Switzerland able to emerge from the group stage.
For the avoidance of doubt, two men and two women's pools do not feature the usual five teams due to some delegations missing the event for health and protocol reasons.
Having seen 3x3's best compete in the historic Tokyo Games, the next wave of stars will be inspired to put on a show in Debrecen.