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30 October 2018 | in University World Cup 3x3, 3x3 Basketball

Watch out for Europe at the FISU 3x3 WUL Finals

Uni teams from Lithuania, Germany, Ukraine and Slovenia to represent Europe


Vytautas Magnus University 3x3 teamIn just over a fortnight, one of the most eagerly awaited global university tournaments will start in Xiamen, China. The 3x3 FISU World University League Finals will pit the best university teams from around the world against each other. 


There are 32 teams in total – 16 each in the men’s and women’s fields – that have earned the right to represent their continent, having come through tough continental qualifers.


The Vytautas Magnus University (VMU) of Lithuania leads the men’s field from Europe, having won all nine games played at the Qualifying Tournament in Coimbra, Portugal. Captain Lukas Grabauskas is literally counting the days until the starts of the World Finals in Xiamen. 


“I think it will be a serious tournament, like a World Cup,” he says. “We are waiting for this tournament, because it is a good challenge for us. We are very sure all the teams will be very strong, and it will require maximum concentration on our part.”


They know they will have to prove themselves all over again because the team composition will be quite different to the one that won the European Student Championship in Coimbra.


Basketball is almost a religion in Lithuania and VMU doesn’t take it lightly.


Grabauskas’ teammate Airidas Nutautas says, “Our university cherishes its basketball traditions. VMU has been Lithuanian champion 14 times and European Students Basketball League champion 7 times. Many of our university alumni such as Mindaugas Kuzminskas, Mantas Kalnietis and others are playing professionally in the best Lithuanian and European teams and also the NBA.”


Georg August University 3x3 teamSo, they’ve clearly thrown down the gauntlet. Who’s up for the challenge? Accompanying them from Europe is the men’s team from the Georg August University, Goettingen, Germany. Coach Gökhan Özbaş says his squad is really excited because it is the first time their university will be part of the FISU 3x3 World University League Finals.

“I'm very excited, especially for my players because you don't get to represent your city and university on a global scale every day,” he tells FISU with a smile.


“It’s also the first time I’m getting to visit China so I'm very excited about the whole experience, especially the people and the culture. I've heard so much about it and I can't wait to see it for myself.”


Team member Philipp Sprung has more than just basketball on his mind. "I am really looking forward to getting to know the culture, how people live, their habits and the food," he says. "I am a big culinary guy and I love to eat, so that’s one thing I am very excited about. We will also add a few days after the tournament to do some sightseeing and just taking in the great culture out there."


It's no surprise, considering this will be the first time a German team will be at the World University League Finals. 


Over on the women’s side, the two European teams that have made it to the World Finals are Vasyl Stefanyk University of Ukraine and University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. Sara Meden is coach, manager and captain of the team from Slovenia and is looking forward to wearing all three hats.


“The best thing about my team is that we are not only teammates, but also good friends," she says. "And that is the key ingredient for being a  successful team. We are all very excited to represent University of Ljubljana and in the last week before our departure to China, we will practice intensely together."


It is this very spirit that has brought her and teammates Eva, Ela and Maja all the way to the World Finals. Even though they lost one game to the Romanian University of Pitesti, together they did enough to book their ticket to Xiamen. 

L-R: Ela, Sara, Eva and Maja Find out more about the finalist teams from AsiaOceaniaAmericas and Africa here.