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08 January 2019 | in 3x3 Basketball, University World Cup 3x3

What makes the perfect 3x3 baller?

McGill University’s 3x3 squad tells us what they learned at the FISU University World Cup - 3x3


The 3x3 basketball squad from Canada’s McGill University were the dark horses at the University World Cup, held in November 2018. Although McGill had won the event before – when it was still called the World University League Finals – the domination of the Chinese teams at the 2018 edition was such that McGill’s run to the men’s final was almost surprising.

McGill ‘Redmen’ basketball players Avery Cadogan, Noah Daoust, Isaiah Cummins and Alex Paquin finished second to hosts Huaqiao University in Xiamen, China. The Canadian athletes themselves admit that they were in awe of the sheer physicality and level of competition in Xiamen.   


“It wasn’t basketball,” says Paquin, who has also played NCAA Division I basketball with American University in Washington, D.C. “It was a completely different sport; faster and far more physical.”


Cadogan was one of the standout players of the tournament and he says he prefers the 3x3 format to normal 5-on-5, full-court play. “There’s so much space to play outside,” he explains. “It’s a huge transition, but this beats conference play.”


His teammate Cummins adds, “Guys can be so physical. It puts everyone on the same playing field, because players can bump you off your stride.”


“It allows players who wouldn’t be as good at 5-on-5 to play well,” Paquin continues. “They’re not mobile or super athletic, but they can finish and are super strong.”


Daoust, a six-foot-seven forward who also represented McGill in the World University League 2017 Finals, has a prototype for the ideal 3x3 player.


“I think the best 3x3 player is six-foot-four, six-foot-five at most, and with a stocky build,” he says. “They have the ability to handle the ball a bit and shoot a bit. They’re not great at any one thing, but good at everything. The hardest players to guard fit that description.”


Beyond the play, the four ballers - who hail from various parts of Canada - loved the atmosphere at the tournament in Xiamen and were amazed at the support they drew from locals.


“It was incredible,” says Cummins, who is originally from Oshawa, Ontario. “Seeing how much they love basketball was amazing. All the kids were watching and the general love for the sport was surreal.”


“There were like 300 or 400 people at our games sometimes,” Paquin, a Montreal native, recalls fondly. “In the final, there were people behind the fences watching.”


The almost-celebrity status and being asked for selfies and autographs caught them off-guard sometimes.  


“Wasn’t there a girl who cried when she couldn’t get a ticket?” Daoust asks his teammates, laughing.


“People would look at us and wave,” Paquin chuckles, bemused at how much attention they received.


“It shows how much they love the game,” Cummins adds.

With three straight conference championships (and five titles in the past six seasons), the McGill Redmen are one of Canadian basketball’s most-successful university teams. Paquin, Cadogan, Daoust, and Cummins have returned from China and are ready to lead the prestigious program to more hoops glory come March 2019.


“We’ve all been on successful McGill teams and we want to keep it that way,” Daoust says. “We want to win our league every single year. There’s a lot of great competition.”


By U-Media Reporter Salim Valji, a FISU Young Reporters Programme alumnus from the Taipei 2017 Summer Universiade