Wilson-Frame reps Pitt in inaugural 3X3U Tourney


Knox Coulter | Senior Staff Photographer

Former Pitt Guard/Forward Jared Wilson-Frame represented Pitt on the ACC team at the 3X3U National Championship.

By Nick Carlisano, Staff Writer

While the NCAA Tournament and NBA regular season have been dominating headlines throughout March and into April, there was plenty more going on in the world of basketball that went under the radar of the average sports fan — including the inaugural 3X3U National Championship.

In this year’s event, teams from all 32 conferences battled it out inside the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, this past weekend for a chance to win $150,000.

The tournament pits teams of four players, all from the same conference, against teams from other conferences in half-court, pick-up style fashion. All players involved are those that have just finished their last season of eligibility, giving them a final shot at glory and a previously illicit cash prize.

The rules of 3X3U are pretty simple. A shot inside the arc is one point and a basket from beyond is worth two. Teams play three on three with one substitute, and the first to score 21 points wins. The shot clock is 12 seconds, and the game clock 10 minutes if neither team gets to 21 by then. A tie at the end of regulation produces a sudden death, first-to-two-points overtime. Referees call fouls, with the number of free throws awarded in accordance with the point system. A missed shot, steal or block requires a team to take the ball back beyond the arc.

Former Panther Jared Wilson-Frame represented Pitt for the ACC squad, along with Anthony Lawrence from Miami and Marcquise Reed and Elijah Thomas of Clemson.

The conference teams who participate in the tournament are divided into pools. The ACC was able to sweep pool play, notching impressive wins over teams from the Patriot League, MEAC and Mountain West Conference.

In the event opener against Mountain West, Wilson-Frame, fresh off a stellar senior season where he was Pitt’s second leading scorer at 12.7 points per game, continued to carry the load offensively. The former Panther poured in 10 of the team’s 22 points, with four of his six field goals from deep.

And in what appeared to be a slight to the NCAA’s rules against paying players, the ACC players celebrated a 22-15 victory by throwing stacks of money in the air or “making it rain in style” as the tournament’s Twitter account described.

Wilson-Frame continued to perform throughout pool play, averaging 7.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game while shooting 72% from the field.

After two days of pool play, the field was cut in half and a single elimination bracket began. Wilson-Frame, his ACC teammates and their 3-0 record made the cut easily. They joined fellow Power conference teams from the Big Ten, SEC and Pac 12, as well as some smaller conferences like the Colonial and Big Sky.

Just as in March Madness, conference pedigree and big name players didn’t always equate to success in the final day of the 3X3U. Wisconsin star Ethan Happ couldn’t will the Big Ten to victory, while the PAC-12 and SEC also fell.

Despite a strong effort, the ACC also fell at the hands of the Southland Conference.

In the loss, Miami’s Lawrence and Thomas of Clemson both contributed seven points. Wilson-Frame was unable to continue his hot shooting in the tournament. He missed all three of his two-point attempts and scored only one point.

The Southland Conference was carried by Cameron Delaney of Sam Houston State, who tallied 12 of his team’s 21 points.

While most of the first playoff games were tight, the Colonial Conference flexed their muscles by blowing out the Southern Conference team 21-13, protecting their unblemished record.

Teams from the Colonial, American, WCC and MAAC were also still undefeated entering the second round of the playoffs. After the round of 16, eight teams remained standing for a shot at the money: the Southland, WCC, American, NEC, MAAC, MAC, Colonial and Conference USA.

The four undefeated teams quickly thinned to two in second-round play. The MAC team dealt the MAAC its first loss behind a solid 11 points from Jaylin Walker, a representative of Kent State.

The American squad was knocked out by the NEC in a 21-20 nailbiter as each NEC player contributed at least two points. The Colonial conference continued its winning ways against C-USA, led by potential NBA prospect and former Hofstra star Justin Wright-Foreman who scored 11 points.

The West Coast and Colonial conferences simply refused to lose. After beating the Southland conference in their second-round game, the WCC handled the NEC 21-15 and the Colonial squad squeaked out a win over the MAC. Wright-Foreman again reached double figures with 10 points, including three makes from deep. Roberto Gallinat, from Pacific University, put up a tournament-high 12 points in the win for the WCC.

And then there were two. While the WCC had looked formidable, they were no match for Wright-Foreman and the Colonial. He poured in 10 once more, while Charleston teammate Jarrell Brantley added eight himself to fuel the 21-13 victory.

The Colonial team, made up of four first team All-Conference players were crowned champions of the 2019 3X3U tournament in front of about 2,000 spectators. In addition to the thousands who visited the Mall of America to watch the event, Twitter live stream numbers were around seven million.

Each victor earned $1,000 for their three pool play wins, and a combined $103,000 to split for coming out on top. The Colonial team won every game they played, outscoring opponents by a total of 43 points.

Hofstra’s Wright-Foreman was named MVP of the tournament after pouring in 60 points in seven games.

As champions, the Colonial team has earned the right to compete in the 2019 USA Basketball 3×3 Open National Championship in Las Vegas next month.