Garrick’s Eyes Wide Open at 3×3 Potential

Three weeks ago Maddie Garrick knew precious little about the 3×3 game but the Melbourne Boomers WNBL and Australian Opals star has picked it up quickly and has thrived at the FIBA Asia Cup and in the two NBL Pro Hustle events at Melbourne’s Docklands Studios.

Garrick has been a regular member of the Australian Opals team including at last year’s FIBA Asian Cup and is right in line for the FIBA World Cup in Spain later this year in the national team, but the 3×3 game has allowed her to add another string to her bow as well.

The 26-year-old is coming off her WNBL season with the Melbourne Boomers where she was a key part in the team getting all the way to the Grand Final and pushing the Townsville Fire to three games in the championship series.

Coming off that WNBL season with the Boomers, where she has since re-signed for a further two seasons, Garrick returned to competitive basketball two weeks ago in the first NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle event at Melbourne’s Docklands Studios.

She played on the Melbourne Boomers team at that tournament and went back on to play in back to back finals against a tough Spectres-iAthletic team, falling just short on both occasions.

In between, Garrick represented Australia in China at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup and was part of the bronze medal winning team.

That opens more possibilities for Garrick to represent her country and while there’s every chance she’ll be in the Opals team at upcoming World Cups, Asia Cups, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games, she could be there representing her country in 3×3 basketball as well.

“Everyone has a feel of it now and having that first Hustle event helped everyone become pretty familiar with the rules and it’s given us the chance to talk about it a bit more,” Garrick said.

“Then having the Asia Cup too, obviously I’m a bit more familiar with it now and with the rules and knowing the bookends of physicality and how to play it.”

Considering two weeks ago, Garrick had never played a competitive 3×3 match before, the fact that she’s now taken part in two Pro Hustle events already and has now been to an Asia Cup and won a bronze medal for Australia is something she is still pinching herself about.

“It was such an awesome experience and super exciting. I haven’t really, other than the first Pro Hustle event, I haven’t played much 3×3 before. To do that and to do it on an international platform as well was really exciting and I had a great time,” she said.

“I learned a lot about the game itself too and playing a different style of basketball is always interesting and exciting in itself.

“Anytime you get to represent your country in something that you really enjoy doing in basketball is a fantastic opportunity. I’m really grateful that I had that opportunity and I hope that I can keep building on those experiences.”

Looking back on that first Pro Hustle event, Garrick actually felt it was a great positive that she hadn’t played before because it meant she just went into it with no expectations and allowed herself to enjoy the whole experience.

The fact that she ended up playing well and subsequently was asked to go on and play for Australia at the Asia Cup was a great bonus.

“I think that was one of the good things about it was that I didn’t really have a lot of expectations about it myself,” Garrick said.

“I kind of just went into it with an open mind and when they asked me if I wanted to be part of the Australian team as well and play in the Melbourne Boomers team at the Hustle, I just had an open mind about it.

“It was exciting because it was something I hadn’t done before and it was still basketball. I think not having any experience in it was a good thing at the time as well because there wasn’t as much pressure or expectation on myself and how I would perform.

“It turned out awesome and I really enjoy it. I’m still learning about it and it’s a valid game that suits my playing style as well so it fits in well for me.”

The timing just worked out perfectly to give 3×3 basketball a crack right now so she has been happy to throw herself fully into playing in the Pro Hustle events and heading to China to take part in the Asia Cup in Shenzhen.

She also feels that it could even help her game in the bigger perspective back at WNBL level and while she acknowledges the 3×3 game might not be for everyone, she encourages everyone to at least give it a try.

“I guess it’s not a game that is for everyone. You have to be versatile and it’s a lot quicker too,” Garrick said.

“It’s not suited to everyone but it’s something that people should give a crack to see if they like it. There’s lots of elements about it that would translate nicely back into the traditional five on five game.

“I guess 3×3 came up at the moment because I had the time to be able to do it because I’m not playing SEABL at the moment so it worked out well for me. But it’s still basketball at the end of the day, it’s just a quicker game in the half-court.

“Overall the rules and the playing of the game is still the same, but when the ball goes through the hoop you clear it out instead. The rest is still shooting the same and still attacking the basket the same.

“It’s just a quicker game but there’s lots of elements that translate back into the traditional game. For myself as well, being more physical and aggressive going to the hoop and also the defensive aspect of my game will help going back into the WNBL as well.”

Tickets are now on sale for the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle 3 in Sydney this weekend at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.

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