Ten players to watch at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final
ABU DHABI (2015 FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final) - The FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final brings together the 12 best teams of the World Tour season. Among these 48 players, we look at the ten most likely to make an impression in Abu Dhabi on 15-16 October.
Calvin 'The Beast' Abueva (Manila North, PHI - 1.91m, 27 years old, World Rank: 156)
The energetic Abueva went beast mode this summer, not only leading his team to the final of the Manila Masters but also playing a big role in the Philippines' silver medal at the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship. Don't let his poor ranking (he only played a handful of 3x3 events this year) fool you, his passion and devastating drives will be a problem in Abu Dhabi. Abueva is hungry and this time won't settle with silver.
Blaz 'Birdman' Cresnar (Ljubljana, SLO - 2.16m, 29 years old, World Rank: 8)
Birdman is back with a vengeance after missing the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Final. The tallest player in the tournament is not your average 7-footer and you will often see him bomb from outside and pull out the finesse move. But the former number one 3x3 player in the world has never declined a big dunk or a monster block either.
Dusan Domovic Bulut aka 'Mr Bullutproof' (Novi Sad Al Wahda, UAE - 1.91m, 29 years old, World Rank: 1)
The Serbian star has dominated the 3x3 scene since 2012 and won nearly every title, including the World Tour last year in Japan. He's now trying to cement his place in history. The Rio de Janeiro Masters MVP has already won two Masters this season (Manila and Rio). Oh and yes watch your legs when you're guarding him.
Derek 'Vanilla Gorilla' Griffin (Denver, USA - 1.91m, 31 years old, World Rank: 68)
Not only does Griffin have the best nickname in the business, he also has the smoothest jumper. Even worse, he has a tendency to be more accurate with a hand in his face. The 'Vanilla Gorilla' is a member of the exclusive group of 12 players (only one from that list) to have played in all four editions of the FIBA 3x3 World Tour. With an upgraded team, the top scorer of the Mexico DF Masters could make some noise in Abu Dhabi.
Dominic James (Doha, QAT - 1.80m, 29 years old, World Rank: 66)
The former college star (Marquette) found a new opportunity to shine at the FIBA 3x3 World Tour. James has dynamite in his legs and already connected on a few alley-oops this season. He also proved he can hit the big shot when he scored the game-winner in overtime in the final of the Beijing Masters against Ljubljana.
Dominique 'Disco Domo' Jones (NY Harlem, USA - 1.78m, 27 years old, World Rank: 106)
'Disco Domo' may be the shortest player at the Final but count on him to make his opponents dance against their will in Abu Dhabi. The NY Harlem star's got more moves than James Brown and he likes putting his defender on a spin cycle. Jones can also entertain the crowd from the free-throw line with his signature one-handed shot.
Dejan 'The Maestro' Majstorovic (Novi Sad Al Wahda, UAE - 2.00m, 27 years old, World Rank: 2)
Ever since 'The Maestro' joined Novi Sad Al Wahda, the team started stockpiling trophies. The number two 3x3 player in the world is lethal from outside the arc. He won the shoot-out contest at the World Tour Final last year and again this season at the Rio de Janeiro Masters. Sometimes he would score without even looking.
Sammy Monroe II (Doha, QAT - 1.98m, 30 years old, World Rank: 17)
He has posterized players from every time zone this season and currently ranks fourth on the scoring list though he played in only two Masters. Monroe is one of the main reasons why Team Doha shined this year at the World Tour (3rd in Manila, 1st in Beijing) and look like the biggest threat to Novi Sad Al Wahda's repeat.
Szymon 'SR44' Rduch (Kolobrzeg, POL - 1.98m, 26 years old, World Rank: 26)
This Kolobrzeg team may be a family affair with three brothers on the same roster but Szymon Rduch is the true leader of that team. The all-around SR44 was so impressive at the Prague Masters that he was named tournament MVP.
Ovidijus Varanauskas (Vilnius, LTU - 1.86m, 24 years old, World Rank: 59)
The fast and furious Varanauskas was unstoppable in Lausanne, leading his team to a perfect 5-0 record and MVP honours. The Lithuanian playmaker has a nasty crossover and added a reliable shot from the outside this season. He was made available for the Final by his new professional 5on5 team, Italian powerhouse Pallacanestro Varese.