Medals at the World Cup, pro team… The 3×3 basket “has everything to fart in France! »

Let’s say the coin didn’t fall on the right side… “, formula Antoine Eito by sweeping away the idea of ​​a frustration that would have germinated in his teammates and him. At the end of June last in Antwerp (Belgium), the France 3×3 team, of which the leader of Elan Chalon is a member, failed by nothing in the semi-finals of the World Cup against Lithuania. Obviously everything was not played out on that, but a simple free throw, in overtime, would have allowed access to the final.

It was quickly necessary to move on to something else to bounce back “, entrusts Karim Souchuthe coach of the national team, met this week by BasketUSA during a gathering in Nort-sur-Erdre, north of Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), where the internship of Nando de Colo. His players did it very well by winning against Belgium, still in extra time, during the small final to leave with a very nice bronze medal around their necks. ” We weren’t expected at all, we were the 10th nation “Recalls Antoine Eito, who was injured in half, to give an idea of ​​​​the performance of the Blues.

At the same time, their female counterparts caused a sensation by winning the first gold medal in their history in this context, against Canada. This is to say that France has shone on the seventh edition, already, of this international meeting. At the same time, as if to better confirm the current dynamics of the practice, the FFBB announces the creation of its first professional team, “3×3 Paris”.

But of this unique operation, because a Federation accompanying a professional team is ” a concept that does not exist in team sport in France “: ” Encourage players to specialize », Displays in a press release Alain Contensoux, national technical director of the FFBB. The latter at the Paris 2024 Olympics in the lead. Unlike the 5×5, for which the two French teams are qualified as host countries, only one of the two genders is automatically qualified for the 3×3, namely the highest ranked team on November 1, 2023.

Double qualification for Paris 2024

For the time being, the girls are in a better position than the boys in the world 3×3 ranking. This classification, which includes individual, collective and federation sections, allows, depending on the points, to be executed by the 25 best players from each country. Hence this idea of ​​betting on this team of six professional players to have them evaluated at the highest international level all year round, on the World Tour circuit, and thus try to progress in the world hierarchy. Eventually, this team, whose creation was eagerly awaited, will also be able to serve as ” tank to the France team, imagine Karim Souchu, who will also supervise this training.

The latter specifies that “3×3 Paris”, which was playing this weekend in Nort-sur-Erdre a qualifying tournament for the “FIBA ​​3×3 Challenger Liptik”, was formed on the basis of the voluntary participation of players. , mostly N1 or Pro B level. Jeep Elite profiles had also presented themselves but financially, we cannot align », Formulates the former French international, in 5×5. Before adding: If a player doesn’t want to do 3×3, we won’t go looking for him to convince him. Generally, they come by themselves to solicit us, to ask questions. We give the information and behind it, it’s up to them to make their choice. I think it’s better that way. »

Paul Djoko alongside his trainer, Karim Souchu.

Paul Djoko was one of those whom it was not difficult to recruit. He knows very well Karim Souchu who was his coach at the 2016 Euro U18 which ended with a gold medal. After five years in the NCAA (Northern Kentucky and UT Tyler), he returned to Europe with a view to obtaining a pro contract there. ” Ten days after my end of the season, I was offered the project, I didn’t even have time to look “, says the 24-year-old player who only hides his two-year contract is” super interesting financially, compared to what I might find in Pro B » : a fixed salary of €4,000, in addition to possible « prize money » on tournaments.

According to the FFBB, the Serbian team in Novi Sad thus earned a total of 279,000 dollars in 2021. At the same time, still according to the Federation, the operating cost of the French professional team has reached 1 million. euros euros annually, a sum assumed by the FFBB and the National Sports Agency.

An NBA player?

With such amounts, the players in the discipline are aware that it will still be necessary to wait a while before seeing the big names in the basket try their hand at 3×3. ” An NBA player? Nothing is impossible but the day when we will have 100 million dollar contracts in 3×3, we will be very, very far! “, laughs Karim Souchu, however witnessing the evolution of the means with these famous “prize money”, since he discovered the 3×3 in 2012. The year when the former Pro A player won a silver medal at the very first World Championship in Greece.

The technician considers that the practice still has something to attract high-level practitioners: “ After the training center, some may say to themselves: ‘I may be a little crazy at the 5×5 level, why not go to the 3×3?’ This can be a line of thought. “Paul Djoko, for example, does not close the door to a return to 5×5. Corn “ if my career should be in 3×3, it will be 3×3 because I am a fan of the discipline and I would like to become an ambassador for it because I believe that it must move forward, which people will like a lot. »

Still under contract with Chalon, in 5×5 therefore, Antoine Eito had taken the step a few years ago of contacting Richard Billant, the predecessor of Karim Souchu, to test this other form of basket. “ The first thing was the jerseyconfides the leader who has not left the Blues since. For X or Y reason, I have never worn the jersey of the big French team in 5×5. It was important to me. I liked it straight away, it corresponds to my way of thinking, of living, of playing. Behind, on one had results with this extraordinary medal. »

Antoine Eito in training.

The 34-year-old appreciates the street side of this basket, his freedom, the fact of not having a coach nearby. ” We are a family, four players on the field and it is us who have to manage. It’s a crazy state of mind that I would like to pass on to the 5×5. Beyond that, on half-court, there’s a lot more space so if you can hold your guy, it’s easier in 5×5. It makes you work on your cardio, your instincts, the fact of moving on quickly to something else. »

Everything goes faster and you don’t have the opportunity to hide, it’s really two other guys and you. You have to be efficient at all times “, completes Paul Djoko, who says he appreciates the fact of having more “ the ball in the hands. Basically, I’m a one-on-one player, so that’s what I like. In 5×5, at a certain level, if you’re not the top 1 or 2 player, you’re in a role. You are asked to do specific things that you need to do less at 3×3 because you necessarily have more responsibilities. »

This is the reason why Karim Souchu and the other 3×3 executives are looking for players” physical, enduring and skilful », and especially hyper complete because this dimension « reinforces the versatile side of some players who return to the 5×5 behind. ” He adds : ” It’s a dynamic format, with possessions in 12 seconds, a game 10 minutes or 21 points. A format that appeals because it’s short but intense, in terms of rhythm and cardio, it has nothing to do with 5×5. We often compare with colleagues with tennis and squash. »

A predictable evolution

The coach is not surprised by the relatively rapid development of this discipline, which made its first appearance on the international scene in 2010, becoming Olympic in a few years. ” It’s the logic of things, it was predictable. »

What about those who would take a dim view of this dynamic for the future of 5×5? ” I think the two are complementary. In terms of fundamentals, hardness, the 3×3 can bring to the 5×5. They should not be constantly compared because many different things. It’s a bit like rugby 7 or 15. Everyone is free to like the discipline. There is no competition to be seen. The 3×3 is not there to cannibalize the 5×5. In the end, the basket will come out a winner. »

The technician is then asked his feelings for the future. ” In ten years ? I would like him to have a professional league in France. With Paris 2024, we will be able to show the 3×3 at home in France, it will be a turning point I think. » « The big results of the French teams for a few years are a good showcase. All the people who are a little disappointed there are fans. I think the discipline has everything to fart in France! “Ends Paul Djoko enthusiastically.

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