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Team Saskatoon a favourite to win at FIBA 3x3 Masters Tour
Published Friday, July 14, 2017 4:12PM CST
Last Updated Friday, July 14, 2017 7:06PM CST
They’ve travelled across the world on the FIBA 3x3 Masters Tour, and now Team Saskatoon is finally coming home.
“Usually I don’t get excited for events. I like to say I get ready, so for this one I’m starting to see the excitement building within myself, within the community,” said Michael Linklater, a five-year member of the team, which is one of the favourites to win.
It’s the first time the tour will make a stop in Saskatchewan—a province known more for producing football and hockey players than basketballers.
Michael Lieffers, who’s also been with the team for five years, couldn’t put his finger on how the Saskatoon team became one of the best in the three-on-three world.
“I don’t actually know to tell you the truth,” Lieffers said. “I think the Huskies had a huge part of it. Three of us are all alumni. We have a few alternates that are alumni as well.”
Lieffers, Linklater and Nolan Brudehl, the other starter on the team, all played for the Saskatchewan Huskies in 2010, when the program won its first national championship over the UBC Thunderbirds.
“I kind of think of it as I gained two more brothers. I mean, I’ve grown up with them since I was 17 years old,” Brudehl said. “Just having that in itself is like having another edge behind you.”
Seven years later, the team believes those experiences have helped them to become one of the top ranked three-on-three basketball teams on the planet.
“It’s almost like baking,” Linklater said, with a grin on his face. “You know how bread is made—it’s baked. But until you actually do it, you’re not going to fully understand it. For us, winning that national championship was us kind of baking.”
Now, Team Saskatoon believes they have all the necessary ingredients to cook up a win on home court. They’ll tip things off Saturday afternoon against Team Winnipeg.