The FIBA 3×3 World Tour Masters is coming to Canada for the first time and Saskatoon will be hosting the event.
Saskatoon is home to one of the top teams on the planet, so it made sense to have the city play host.
Michael Linklater’s squad finished second at the World Tour Finals in 2014 and tenth last season.
The former Saskatchewan Huskies star has been working for two years to bring a masters tournament to his hometown.
“All the events that we’ve participated in have been in different parts of the world, so all of our family would have to be up at like three or four o’clock in the morning to stream it online, so it’s going to be really exciting to have our family right there,” Linklater, who is the world’s twelve ranked 3×3 player, said.
Ignacio Soriano, FIBA’s 3×3 development manager, said the event is perfect for Saskatoon.
“We want this event to be one of the top events in the year in Saskatoon, and I think having Michael as an ambassador, it’s a puzzle that all the pieces fit together 100 per cent,” Soriano said.
The event, which will also return in 2018 and 2019, is scheduled for July 14-16 as part of Taste of Saskatchewan.
The Saskatoon event will feature 12 teams from around the world, and will include slam dunk and shoot-out contest between games.
An amateur 3×3 tournament is also being planned as part of the event.
Michael O’Keefe, president and CEO of Canada Basketball, said the sport is one of the most played recreational sports in the world.
“3×3 basketball has experienced rapid growth and notoriety around the world as a key motor in advancing the game and we look forward to further developing it here at home,” O’Keefe said.
Professional 3×3 basketball is much different from the traditional five-on-five version.
Games are played on a half-court with a 12 second shot clock and last just 10 minutes or until one team scores 21 points.
FIBA officials are hoping 3×3 basketball will part of the Olympic Games by 2020.