Basketball Ballarat will host the inaugural Ray Borner’s 3on3 challenge – with a winner-takes-all prize money of $50,000 – across next year’s Easter weekend.
The 3on3 format is basketball’s version of twenty20 cricket. The fast-paced style of game will see teams of four, three on-court, face-off in 10-minute matches with a 14-second shot clock.
Ballarat’s Ray Borner, a four-time Olympian, is excited to bring the new-age concept to his home town and believes the lucrative prize money will see Ballarat welcome around 2000 people for the weekend.
Borner is expecting around 120-150 teams to register with a mix of social teams and elite-level teams.
The National Basketball League Hall of Famer is confident the event will draw some big-name players from around the country, with Adelaide 36ers captain Mitch Creek already putting his support behind the event.
"It obviously took a bit of work to get that sort of prize money, but we wanted to make it something where people would travel to get here.
"Once you get a large amount of money that's when you pull people out of the wood work.
Borner stressed that the event was not just for elite players, but largely dedicated to local players.
The concept allows anyone to enter which will provide a unique opportunity to take to the court against some of the country’s best basketballers.
We want to give those people the opportunity to come and win a lot of money and the opportunity to play something that's different, against elite players.
"One of the things that we need to be wary of too is that we don't over push the elite side of it and kill the bottom side of it. Because at the end of the day it's for four normal people to have a shot at the 50 grand - your normal social basketballers is really what the event is really catering for.
"We want people who would normally go away to Shepparton or Warrnambool for a tournament, we want to give those people the opportunity to come and win a lot of money and the opportunity to play something that's different, against elite players.”
Basketball Ballarat is closing in on finalising the plans to have the event recognised as a International Basketball Federation (FIBA) “challenger” tournament. There are only 15 challenger events in the world.
This would see the top two teams from Ballarat’s event qualify for a World Tour Masters event – in one of the Asian legs.
Teams will be placed into groups and play-off to see which top-two sides advance to the finals stage.
An added element to the concept will see teams offered two other ways to advance to the finals.
There will be positions in the finals fixture to be bought or bid on, allowing a unique variable and opportunity to teams. Borner, who was behind the idea, believes it will add to the excitement of the tournament.