Monday, May 20, 2024

Basketball Hall of Fame prepares for arrival of Team USA

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) – Come Monday, the courts at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame are going to look a lot different.

Team USA is coming to town and will kick off some competition in Springfield before the Olympics. We stopped by the Hall on Thursday to learn more.

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Vice President Greg Procino told us, “If anyone is coming to check out the games to see the participants, it’s going to be a highly competitive game.”

3×3, a fairly new game in the international circuit, is now coming to Springfield, and Procino is ready to welcome some the of games brightest talent.

Local fan Amon Ngumi said, “Is it mens and girls?”

[[Reporter: it is]]

“Then I’ll definitely show, 100% and watch. I would love to see the best 3×3, plus, it’s like a worldwide event, I guess. Cuz tons of other teams around the world… yeah. It’ll be entertaining.”

Western Mass residents can be the first to catch a glimpse of the new Team USA rosters.

Starting Monday, April 22nd, the both the men’s and women’s 3×3 teams will kick off a series in Springfield.

Local fan Marion Ngumi expressed excitement, saying, “They’re actually coming here and to Mass and I’m like… I wanna go see them!”

The game is bringing in some of the top athletes, at a time where young fans simply can’t pick a favorite.

Amon added, “There are so many options… you’ve got Flau’jae, Angel Reece, you got Paige ‘Buckets,’ yeah, honestly you got Caitlin Clark, there are so many choices, options like it’s so hard to say which one is better but there’s definitely a better player and that’s Caitlin Clark 100 percent.”

Although Caitlin Clark and Team USA are still fleshing out whether or not she’ll be a part of Team USA this summer, the following players will be in Springfield for practices and Team USA games.

Recently drafted Cameron Brink, Haley Van Lith from LSU’s elite-eight team, and UConn legend Katie Lou Samuelson.

For a lot of these players, the Hall of Fame is a homecoming.

Procino explained, “Our space is perfect for their set up and the Hall of Fame is viewed as a destination by USA basketball, and certainly for competitive basketball players to come to the Hall of Fame is always a positive for us, especially when you’re talking about some worldwide competition.”

Players representing countries from all over the world, and the women’s bracket-style play kicks off Tuesday at 4:00 p.m.

Marion said, “With all the new class of 2024 graduates, of course I’m going to come, and I’ll be watching the Olympics. It’ll be fun.”

Our coverage of Team USA’s time in Springfield will continue tomorrow.

Western Mass News will be at practice talking to some of the game’s brightest stars. In the meantime, Springfield students are enjoying their week off in April, visiting plenty of museums throughout the city.

Procino told Western Mass News they’ve seen high foot traffic all week long, including the two siblings you just saw in our story.

They came from Worcester to visit the Hall of Fame for the first time, and enjoyed every minute of it, telling us, “We came because we’re on break and we wanted a break from home.”

Amon added, “Honestly, I loved it. They have a ton of artifacts of just the greatest things from basketball… trophies… rings… shoe sizes… it’s crazy, I like it so much. I think it’s mad cool.”

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