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Cole passionately putting 3x3 on the map in Australia
MELBOURNE (Australia) – Rebecca Cole’s love for 3x3 has inspired the star player to be a pioneer for the sport in Australia.
The 27-year-old is Australia’s No.1 ranked women’s player and has become the poster girl for 3x3 in a country with a rich basketball culture. Cole, who recently was named in the All-Star Five for the Dandenong Rangers in the WNBL, started her 3x3 journey at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2017 and quickly grew to love the fast format.
“It was a new experience playing 3x3 but I loved it and realized I was good at it,” she says. “I wanted to keep playing 3x3. It suits my style as it changes quickly from offense to defense. It is way more physical, which I enjoy too.
“I am passionate about 3x3 and it is great to promote it in my country.”
Cole has showcased her spectacular game for Spectres iAthletic during the NBL 3x3 Pro Hustle – Australia’s first professional 3x3 league, which she won for the second time on April 28, 2019. Interest has been further fueled with the events being televised on cable television in Australia.
“I think the 3x3 Hustle has really gained traction in the past year and people are now starting to understand what it’s all about,” Cole says.
“It’s an addictive sport and now people are starting to talk about it. It’s a game that can suit a range of players - even those that might not totally be adept at playing regular basketball.”
The 3x3 Hustle has provided ideal preparation for Cole (especially as she teamed up with fellow Australian 3x3 internationals Keely Froling and Marena Whittle) as she eyes the upcoming FIBA 3x3 World Cup Qualifier in Puerto Rico. Not only aiming to secure a ticket to June's FIBA 3x3 World Cup in Amsterdam, Australia could cross paths with Trans-Tasman rival New Zealand and avenge a bitter 20-18 semi-final loss at last year’s FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup.
“As part our recent national camp, we reviewed that game but I couldn’t watch it,” Cole says. “It still hurts and would be great to play against New Zealand again. We are really excited about getting back on the world stage and try to qualify for the World Cup.”
Cole believes Australia has the talent to make a splash at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup if they qualify. “It would mean a lot to be at the World Cup,” she says. “I firmly believe we are good enough and we just have to prove ourselves against the best in the world.
“We want to make a statement that Australia is here to stay in 3x3.”
Hailing from a nation with a proud Olympic history, Cole dreams of being part of the Tokyo Games where 3x3 will make its Olympic debut.
“It gives me goosebumps just thinking about the Olympics,” she says. “As an athlete in Australia, making the Olympics is the pinnacle and representing my country in Tokyo would be the ultimate.
“I think 3x3 becoming an Olympic discipline has really given it a boost and will inspire more youngsters to take it up.
"I know all the hard work will be worth it if I can put on the green and gold (Australia’s national colors) at the Olympics.”