The 2.05m Tai Wynyard was just 13 years old and did not even make his school basketball team when the likes of Isaac Fotu and Tai Webster won the 2011 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships in Rimini, Italy. Just a few years later, those two were playing for New Zealand’s Tall Blacks at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
The third player to get the accolade was high-rising Killian Tillie, who led France to the bronze medal following a win over Spain (16-13) with a little help from team-mate Bathiste Tchouaffe.
Les Bleues did even better in the women’s tournament, as they upset the United States in the final (20-19). Since 2012, the USA had won all five 3x3 women’s competitions (U18 and senior). France’s speedy Lisa Berkani caught fire in the final, scoring 11 points and received the MVP award.
Two-time 3x3 gold-medallist Arike Ogunbowale scored nine points in the final, finished as the women’s top scorer and was a member of the Team of the Tournament.
Hungarian crowd-favourite Nina Aho also found a spot on the list after spearheading her team to bronze following a win over Israel (14-11).
The individual contests confirmed the French domination in Debrecen as Berkani won the Skills Contest and Tchouaffe the Shoot-Out Contest.
Michael Matuskova collected silver for the Czech Republic and Germany’s Luana Rodefeld claimed bronze in the Skills Contest.
In the Shoot-Out Contest, Tchouaffe narrowly beat Spanish contestant Lucia Alonso, who had to settle for silver and Italy’s Giulia Ciavarelli, who took bronze.
Last but not least, Filipino sensation Kobe Paras successfully defended the Dunk Contest title he won two years ago in Jakarta, Indonesia. Jalek Felton (USA) came just one point short of Paras and took silver. Agustin da Costa put Uruguay on the 3x3 map, collecting a bronze medal.