3×3 Basketball “definitely” can gain popularity in Goa: Shaun Aranjo

The ongoing pathbreaking 3BL Season 3 is producing many firsts – be it the debut of top Indian stars, staggering prize money, live streaming on Sony LIV, emphasis on women’s participation, entry of high caliber foreign 3×3 specialists, and so much more!

But for some individual players, 3BL also presents a unique opportunity to be flag bearers of the basketball culture of their home states.

Cue in, Shaun Aranjo, the first and only Goan player in 3BL history.

The 21-year-old 6ft point guard from Panaji is part of this season’s host city team, Chandigarh Beasts. The young Beasts have shown flashes of potential, but placed in the ultra-competitive Men’s Conference ‘A’, they’ve managed only one semifinal appearance through the five preliminary rounds.

Heading into the finale round, the winner of which will be crowned 3BL Season 3 champs, can the Beasts punch above their weight and surprise us all?

Speaking to the 3BL Media team Aranjo shares his 3BL journey, experiences, assessment and expectations.

  • Tell us about your selection process…

The tryouts I attended was held in Hyderabad. We were over 100 players so we were split into two batches.

It was organized by select senior players in the League. They started off letting us know what it takes to be in the League, what they are looking for in a player during tryouts and a lot of good straightforward advice.

Moving forward towards the action, we started off with some simple dribbling drills and transitioned into some layups and 1-on-1 play. It was a really hot day and the only thing keeping me on my feet was the thought of getting the ticket to the League.

Later they tested our conditioning and moved onto some 3×3 games by splitting us into teams randomly. There were times I was panicking and trying to breakdown and show different sides of my game but thankfully Inderbir [Gill] and Dhruv [Sushil Barman] showed the light to us all. Towards the end I was gassed but satisfied with my tryouts.

  • How has the experience of playing in 3BL Season 3 been like?

From the game to the friendly atmosphere 3BL has organized, it has been a very unique experience for me. Getting to know my opponents from different states and countries and sharing our perspectives on the game is something I value. I am entirely new to this format and so this season has been more of a lesson than a competition for me, making loads of errors but I am happy to learn from them and perform better for the seasons to come.

  • You are representing the host city team of Chandigarh. Do you think this puts added pressure on the team?

It definitely adds pressure but on court it’s more about executing the plan, concentrating and keeping my eyes on the ball at all times. I have no room for pressure.

  • Where do you think Chandigarh has been lacking so far, and what needs to done differently going into the final Round?

Being a young team and having most of us playing 3×3 for the first time we definitely lack experience.

We need to play smarter basketball and play as one unit, try and use speed to our advantage and get some easy 1s on the score board.

  • Goa is known for being a football-first state. Do you think basketball, specifically 3×3 basketball, can gain in popularity here?

Definitely can!!!

3×3 is really entertaining and will flourish in every corner as long as it’s encouraged and promoted the right way. Currently 3BL is clearly doing a great job at that. Special thanks to [3BL Commissioner] Mr Rohit Bakshi.

  • You’ve played in Spain yourself. There are a few Spanish players here in 3BL Season 3. Your thoughts on competing against the foreign talent here? Specifically, what can India learn from Spain’s basketball program?

[We’ve] definitely got some seasoned players from Spain competing this season. Not only do they have the experience and skill but also a couple of fancy tricks up their sleeves to fire up the spectators.

We do have a lot of great Indian players with a lot of skill and good IQ on court. One of the most important things I have learnt in Spain is to perfect my basics to pay attention to the slightest of details and turn every step into an opportunity to score or help a mate score.

  • Your message to other Goan players looking to follow in your footsteps – especially those who may be deterred from trying out thinking they have a height disadvantage?

3×3 is extremely physical and quick. We must give as much importance in the gym as we do on the court. Height is just one of the many advantages in the game. We must find our strengths and gifts, work on them and use them wisely.

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