As the final seconds ticked off the clock Sunday in Amsterdam, Robbie Hummel raised one arm triumphantly skyward as he dribbled one last time.
The celebration had begun for the U.S. men’s 3x3 basketball team.
Team USA won its first men’s FIBA 3x3 World Cup championship Sunday, defeating Latvia 18-14 to capture the gold medal and finish off a perfect week in which it won all seven games.
“It’s a heck of a feeling,” Hummel said. “I’m so proud of our team.”
The U.S. secured a berth in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will be held in spring 2020 at a venue still to be determined and will send the top three teams per gender from that tournament to Tokyo. The top four men’s and four women’s teams on the 3x3 federation ranking list on Nov. 1, 2019, will also earn spots in Tokyo.
While it has been contested at the past three Summer Youth Olympic Games, 3x3 basketball will make its Olympic debut at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
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Hummel, a two-time All-American at Purdue, led the American effort. He was the third-leading scorer in the tournament, scoring 46 points in seven games. Joining him were Canyon Barry, Damon Huffman and Kareem Maddox. Barry totaled 39 points and Huffman had 32. Hummel, Huffman and Maddox played together as Ariel Slow & Steady in May as they won the 3x3 national championship.
Team USA began the World Cup on Wednesday with its first-ever win against three-time defending world champion Serbia. The team followed that up with six consecutive victories, including 22-8 over Poland in the semifinals on Sunday.
The Americans also defeated Turkey, South Korea and Netherlands in pool play, and third-seeded Slovenia in Saturday’s quarterfinals, 21-14.
The World Cup, previously called the FIBA 3x3 World Championship, began in 2012; the U.S. men earned silver in 2016.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.