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Who Would be the Best Minnesota 3-on-3 Team

Middle Tennessee v Minnesota Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The International Olympic Committee recently announced that 3-on-3 basketball will be an Olympic sport at the Tokyo 2020 games. 3-on-3 is played entirely in the halfcourt with a 10 minute game clock. Each team has four players, three starters and one sub. Players score 2 points for any shot taken outside the arc and 1 point for any shot taken inside.

Who does well in a 3-on-3 game? Ideally, you want a big man with guard skills because outside shots and layups are extremely valuable. Karl-Anthony Towns would do extremely well in a 3-on-3 tournament. As a result, a super small player may not be tremendously effective in 3-on-3 even if they were incredible in 5-on-5.

We thought about a related question. Using Gophers from any era, what would be the best 3-on-3 team? For help, I have included a few sample teams with deliberately silly names, but do not feel constrained to just this list in the comments. Because of the nature of historical hypotheticals, we are going to presume that the game would be played by modern rules and that players who were good during their era would be good today.

Pitino’s Punishers

Pitino has not coached enough seasons, so I grouped him with Tubby.

Amir Coffey: His three point shot still needs a bit of work, but it improved over the season. Otherwise, Coffey is just about everything you want in a 3-on-3 game. He’s tall, athletic, an excellent passer, can shoot the three as well as drive.

Rodney Williams: Oh what might have been if Williams had ever developed the ability to shoot consistently. Still, Williams was a beast on the block and can jump out of the gym. He has the athleticism to defend guards and bigger players as well.

Reggie Lynch: An essential component of 3-on-3 defense is having a rim protector. In Minnesota history, no one has been a better shot blocker than Lynch. He also has enough of an offensive game to contribute.

Blake Hoffarber: There’s a case to be made for several other players, notably Trevor Mbakwe and Damian Johnson, but as the sub I chose to improve the team’s three point shooting. Having Coffey and Williams constantly slashing to the paint should open up the Hoff behind the arc on a regular basis.

The Monson Monstars

Vincent Grier: You can’t leave out the player who more or less single handedly willed his team to the NCAA tournament. Grier was the only offensive option for the Gophers, the only player that teams tried to neutralize, and he still put up 18 a game. Unfortunately, he’s an awful shooter from distance.

Kris Humphries: Would Humphries pass the ball? Unclear! Still, he’s tall with the ability to step out to the three point line and was a devastating scorer in college.

Mike Bauer: Bauer is my sleeper pick. He is almost as tall as Humphries but was an all around scorer. He also played with a lot of hustle, which should help in a quick game.

Joel Przybilla: Przy would be matchup specific because while an incredible player, he’s not the fastest. Still, he was an excellent shot blocker and low post scorer.

Haskins’s Heroes

Bobby Jackson: Clem recruited and coached a number of excellent guards. Jackson was the best, and also Haskins’s only All American.

Voshon Lenard: Speaking of players who can score, Leonard was the scorer for the first wave of top Haskins teams. He’s also an NBA talent.

Willie Burton: Burton was the second greatest scorer in Minnesota history, and finished All Big Ten his senior season. He has the size and athleticism to defend the perimeter or the post.

Quincy Lewis: Adding to the scoring firepower of this team. Lewis is another small forward who could handle and shoot from distance.

Dutcher’s Destroyers

Kevin McHale: Duh.

Mychal Thompson: The only other player who could arguably be considered better than McHale. Thompson also gets 3 point help from the fact that both his progeny are excellent shooters.

Trent Tucker: Tucker is the best shooter in Minnesota history. If they had put the 3 point line in place, he would be the team’s all time leader. Back in the day I attended one of his basketball camps for a few years. He came in to give the thirty minute “You can do it” pep talk at the end of the week. During that talk he would take three point shots while telling us that working hard is important. He never missed. He made two of them without even looking at the rim.

Randy Breuer: I made the strategic choice to load this team with size. Breuer anchors the team on defense and is hilariously tall and talented.

Musselman’s Team Name Vacated Because of Sanctions

Jim Brewer: An All American selection, Brewer was drafted second overall by the Cavs. While in college he was a nigh impossible to guard power forward.

Clyde Turner: I’ll be honest. I can’t tell you much about Turner’s game other than he scored a lot and was tall. Blame the fact that I’m young.

Dave Winfield: In the middle of the game, Winfield would decide to play for the New York Yankees.

Flip Saunders: There are no real guards on this team, so Flip gets the mention. A floor leader and solid scorer.

The Old Timers

Dick Garmaker: The other Pride of Hibbing. Garmaker was an All American and was drafted by the Lakers twice. Early professional basketball was weird.

Lou Hudson: “Sweet” Lou may have been able to challenge Tucker to a jump shooting contest. Per his obituary in the New York Times, “he played much of his senior season with a cast on his shooting hand after breaking a bone in his right wrist, but he still averaged 19 points per game, often shooting left-handed.”

Whitey Skoog: Invented the jump shot.

Jim McIntyre: Minnesota’s first big man, McIntyre was a two time All American selection.

Overall, if I was choosing from across eras my team would be Amir Coffey, Lou Hudson, McHale, and Thompson. That team combines shooting and rim protection and has good height across the board. Certainly, it’s fair to argue that Coffey has not played enough games to justify that inclusion. I made a tough choice to put him over Bobby Jackson and Trent Tucker.


Who wins the Minnesota 3-on-3 Tournament?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    Pitino Smith Punishers
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    Monson Monstars
    (0 votes)
  • 22%
    Haskins’s Heroes
    (22 votes)
  • 50%
    Dutcher’s Destroyers
    (50 votes)
  • 5%
    Musselman’s Team Name Vacated Because of Sanctions
    (5 votes)
  • 3%
    Old Timers
    (3 votes)
99 votes total Vote Now