AUT’s 3v3 basketball side has come away bruised after an intense national tournament against the country’s top players at Auckland University in mid-April.
The team finished 7th overall, with a scoresheet which was tough to digest- one win and eight losses. The AUT women’s side also competed in the 3v3 tournament, placing 6th.
Sam Bowden, one of AUT’s senior players on the team, told Debate the competition was strong.
“If you look at the win/loss it sounds pretty terrible and it obviously was disappointing at the time, but most of those games were lost by one or two points. We were right there the whole time and were competing with the best in the country.”
Five of the team’s eight losses were decided by one or two points.
Whilst the AUT side was clearly capable of competing with and beating the best, it was the critical moments during the dying seconds in which AUT failed to perform.
Bowden says the game is incredibly fast paced and concentration is a must.
“I was thinking after the game: ‘If my shot had just rolled in instead of out or if I hadn’t fouled them like that…’ It’s just such small things at the time that can make big impacts. Especially in 3v3 because it’s only a 10-minute game, there’s lots of running and it’s so fast- you need to be switched on.”
Size is also understood to have been a factor at the tournament. Even Bowden, at 6’5”, was occasionally dwarfed by the other basketball giants of New Zealand.
“I think as a team we were undersized compared to the other universities there. I was the tallest bloke we had there at 6’5” but all the other universities might have had someone 6’8”, 6’9” or in general just quite a bit bigger than us really. It caused a few struggles for us with rebounding and things like that.”
When asked about upcoming talent, Bowden told Debate that Taine Wattie and Scott Telfer are both ones to watch.
“I think when the 5v5 tournament rolls around and Taine and Scott are there (and there are other players at the trials that I saw) I think we’ll have a very strong team.”
The National University 5v5 tournament takes place in September and with more of AUT’s top players involved, the side is hoping for a highly successful finish.