Since Basketball Australia’s join venture with the NBL took off last year, introducing Pro Hustle to Australian ballers, the men’s and women’s competition has been scattered with SEABL talent from the coaches and teams to the players themselves.
Nunawading Basketball, driven by men’s head coach Dave Biwer, have led the way in terms of SEABL participation in 3X3, including the iAthletic-Spectres in the Pro Hustle competitions.
In his eighth season as the Spectres head coach and seeing the value and importance of 3X3 in the overall success of Basketball, Biwer said he was grateful for Nunawadings’ overwhelming support.
“There are a lot of opportunities. A lot of kids come to play at Nunawading,” Biwer noted.
“They want to create a clear pathway for the kids not only for the senior players, the Spectres right now, but a pathway from the age of 12 all the way through as you see in five on five. It’s new and ground breaking.”
With Spectres forward Andrew Steel leading the charge with teammate Tom Wright, the success that the Australian SEABL representatives’ have experienced has come at a bit of a surprise to Steel.
“Now we are playing on the world stage and we have jumped up (the rankings). It’s been pretty unreal really,” Steel noted. “I’m just trying to go to as many tournaments as I can.”
But Steel and Wilson are not the only athletes tearing it up on both the 3X3 and SEABL courts.
Bec Cole is making sure that the Melbourne Tigers are well represented as she wears the green and gold.
Proving that the women’s basketball is going strong Down Under, Cole’s form has not only contributed to the Tigers convincing performances in SEABL but also seen Australia recently bring home Silver and Bronze medals in 3X3.
“I’ve felt really great and I’m feel really happy being with the (Melbourne) Tigers,” Cole grinned.
“I wanted to start playing the two-man position again and Mark (Alabakov) has really backed me to do my thing when I’m out there and I’ve found my mojo and I’m having the time of my life.”
With Steel and Cole continuing their pursuit of 3X3 and qualifying for Tokyo in 2020, it’s undeniable that the participation in the “new” basketball is having a positive effect on SEABL.
“If you’re playing a little bit outside the realm of the game (in 3X3) there is no real time to fix it. You’ve got to be switched on the whole time,” Biwer explained.
“I see that the Andrew Steel’s, the Tom Wright’s, Costas Hronopoulos, Jon Cooke are going to become better five on five players because of 3X3. I feel like it’s a win-win.”
Admittedly, bouncing between the two certainly hasn’t been easy for those attempting the feat, with 3X3 and SEABL running concurrently in it’s inaugural year.
“The SEABL season has been a little disjointed because of missing a couple of games here and there,” Steel said.
“Our bodies haven’t really been in tip-top shape but we are getting there and the team (Nunawading) have been going awesome and we have been grinding out some tough wins.”
But with 3X3 medals hanging on their mantles, both Steel and Cole now look forward to traditional five on five basketball as the SEABL season enters the midway point.
Cole and the Tigers sit just outside the eight, likely to move up as their momentum continues.
However the Spectres sit happily at the top of the men’s ladder, in good shape as they begin preparation for finals.
“We have a focus now on going all the way through to finals and we can start turning things up in the next half of the season and clock some wins together,” Steel said.