Hamish McDonald has reinforced his credentials as one of New Zealand's most promising age-group shooting guards. After averaging 33 points a game at the National Under-17 championships last year, McDonald has won a silver medal in the final of the Shootout Contest, at the FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championships in Kazakhstan.
McDonald explains how the competition works and how it unfolded.
"It was a mixed field that featured one player from each of the 21 countries. Each player took 10 shots, five from each side of the three-point line. The players who got the most shots in the quickest won. In the final there was a boy from Hungary and girls from Poland and China. I was beaten by the Polish girl," he recalls.
The tournament was played on an outdoor court in blustery conditions.
"It was pretty tough. It was cold and the ball was swirling around a bit. Shooting outside is a bit different, but I guess it kind of suits us Kiwis because it's cold and windy here," McDonald says.
New Zealand was a little too hot on the opening day of the tournament. They breezed through pool play which included resounding victories over Philippines, Brazil and Spain. They succumbed in the semi-finals to eventual winners Qatar.
"Qatar was the only other team in the tournament with a big man. He hit three three-pointers and in a game that's first to 21 and only lasts ten minutes that's huge. We tried hard, but we were banged up because I think we went a little too hard on the first day. Tai Wynyard emptied the tank," McDonald says.
Kazakhstan proved to be a really interesting destination.
"The accommodation was really nice and so were the people, but I wasn't so keen on the food. They give us this beetroot fish on the first night so I just stuck to the noodle shops the rest of the time," McDonald laughs.
McDonald doesn't have much spare time. He will soon fly to Melbourne for the NBA sponsored, Hoops Without Borders. He is also a member of the Junior Tall Blacks who will contest the Oceania Championships in Fiji.
McDonald has switched from Hamilton Boys' High School to Hillcrest High School. Hillcrest have won seven games in a row in the Waikato competition and appear to be in great shape for an assault on the title.
"The team is looking real strong. It's basically the Waikato rep team and we've got a real good chemistry," McDonald enthusiastically concludes.
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