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SASKATOONEXPRESS - July 3-9, 2017 - Page 12

Threeversus-three hoops opens new door for Huskies grads Darren Steinke Saskatoon Express ichael Linklater never thought going to a three-versus-three tournament on a whim would start a new beginning in basketball. About five years ago, he was approached, along with Michael Lieffers, about playing in a three-versus-three basketball tournament in Edmonton. Both had wrapped up their careers with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies men’s team, with Linklater’s last game coming in the Huskies’ U Sports national championship win in March 2010. The duo decided to round up a couple of other grads that were part of that Huskies championship team and go have some fun. “We went out and played in this tournament in Edmonton thinking we were going to win a trip to Puerto Rico and go on vacation and just enjoy some sunny weather,” said Linklater. “It turned that we would qualify for the World Tour. “We realized that if we did well in Puerto Rico we were going on to the World Tour finals. We ended up doing well. “We went to the World Tour finals which were in Istanbul, Turkey, at that time. We ended up finishing that tournament placing sixth. It was a good showing

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Michael Linklater (left) and Nolan Brudehl played together on the 2010 Huskies’ national championship team. (Photo by Darren Steinke) for us, and we have been playing ever since.” From that first tournament appearance in Edmonton, Linklater and Lieffers have been regulars on the FIBA 3x3 World Tour. This year their team also consists of Nolan Brudehl, who was another member of the Huskies’ 2010 national championship team, and Steve Sir of Edmonton, who used to play professionally in Europe. The foursome will be one of the competing teams at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Masters event, which is set for July 15 and 16 in Saskatoon and will be held in conjunction with the Taste of Saskatchewan festival. Three-on-three is unlike traditional

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basketball. All games go to 21 points or whatever the final score is after 10 minutes. Shots inside the arch are worth one point and shots outside the arch are worth two points. There is a 12-second shot clock, and the ball has to be cleared beyond the arch. After a basket is scored, it is live for the other team to take possession where the ball falls. “There are so many touches,” said Linklater. “There are so many shots going up and a lot of dunks happening. It is a lot of fun.” Basketball is just part of the showcase at a World Tour Masters event. Saskatoon’s stop is expected to include a slam dunk contest and shootout contest, which will

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take place between games along with live music, cheerleaders, dance teams and other entertainment. The World Tour Masters is slated to have 12 teams take part in the main competition. An amateur three-versusthree tournament is being planned to take place on satellite courts alongside the main tournament court. “At the world tour level, we absolutely love the environments that these events create,” said Linklater. “It is an exciting game as it is on its own. “When you add the environment of a lot of the things that are going on for the spectators, it is a fan experience event. You’re not just going to watch a sporting event. (Continue on page 13)

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Saskatoon Express, July 3, 2017  
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