PALO ALTO (FIBA 3x3) - One aspect to FIBA 3x3 that makes it important in the world of basketball is how it benefits players in the 5x5 game.
One leading player, Chiney Ogwumike of the powerhouse Stanford University women’s team, is a testament to that.
She says that representing the United States at the FIBA 3x3 World Championship in Athens, Greece, this past summer has definitely helped her develop in the sport.
Chiney and the Americans beat France in the Final of the women’s event.
“I think the one-on-one skills have really helped me, because I’m playing a wide variety of types of players,” she said.
“They’re either athletic or have a stronger build or tall, so being able to play against a variety of players has helped.
"The game was very physical overseas.
"Finishing at the rim is something I won’t take for granted from that trip and being able to be physical within the confines of the game.
"I think that’s one that’s one of the most salient things I took from that experience."
A student/athlete at Stanford University, Chiney appears destined to follow in big sister Nnemkadi's footsteps and compete in the WNBA.
Nnemkadi, who also attended Stanford, was the top pick in the WNBA Draft last summer by the Los Angeles Sparks and was named Rookie of the Year.
Chiney exploded for a career-high 31 points in Stanford’s latest win, a 78-43 triumph over Pacific.
In NCAA hoops, players need to understand how to run a give-and-go, or a pick-and-roll to be successful.
It’s the same in the WNBA, and Europe.
Remember how Greece’s men upset the United States at the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan?
The Greeks’ pick-and-roll offense with Theo Papaloukas constantly feeding Sofo Schortsanitis led to many an important basket in that 101-95 victory.
The 3x3 game allowed Chiney to work on that basic but very important offense.
“We have a great point guard on our (Stanford) team in Amber Orrange, and we run the pick and roll with her, it’s our offense," Chiney said on the USA Basketball website.
"I love playing two-on-two with her, and I think that 3x3 helped me love the whole idea of two-on-two now.”
Chiney and Stanford have won all nine of their games so far this season.
Heading into a Christmas Eve clash with the University of South Carolina (10-0), a team coached by former USA point guard Dawn Staley, Chiney has a streak of six consecutive double-doubles.