Jeremiah Gray admitted being shocked upon realizing how different of an animal 3×3 basketball is when he got the chance to play the emerging discipline with some of those who have been playing such for years now.
The 25-year-old guard told 2OT, presented by SMART Saturday that he hit up FIBA 3×3 veteran Kareem Maddox to help him out when he learned that he could possibly play the halfcourt game through the inaugural PBA 3×3.
Maddox has been playing 3×3 since 2015. One of the pillars of Princeton in the FIBA 3×3 pro circuit, the 31-year-old led Team USA to its first-ever gold medal in the FIBA 3×3 World Cup in Amsterdam through a 7-0 sweep.
“Back home, once I found out that possibly I was gonna be playing 3-on-3 this year, I hit up my friend Kareem and we had some private training sessions,” said the Fil-Am cager, who hails from Thousand Oaks, California.
“He even brought his guys from Team USA, and a few other guys came in and actually got to practice playing actual 3×3 with them because they’re actually out to prepare as well for Doha [World Tour Masters] this month.”
And those sessions with Maddox and Co., the 6-foot-5 swingman said, is what made him change his beliefs about 3×3.
“It was actually shocking because it’s a way different game than I expected,” said Gray in the program hosted by Carlo Pamintuan and Magoo Marjon,
“I’ve heard people tell me that before but actually experiencing it — even though it’s not a real 3×3 game but the practice — it was shocking how tired I was, and just how fast-paced it was. I thought it was gonna be a slower game but it’s fast-paced.”
But then, Gray feels fortunate to have gone through that experience thanks to Maddox.
Maddox, the 17th-ranked 3×3 player in the world, was impressed with Gray as well, inviting him to form a new team that will not be world-ranked squad Princeton.
Gray, though, had to turn it down as an offer which he can’t refuse came calling.
“That’s a very good person to go up against and his team is very good as well, so I think that will help me out for out here, for sure,” he said.
“They actually wanna form like a whole new team so that’s what they want to do, we have a few players get together and for that new team,” he continued.
“But once I heard the opportunity to come out here, I couldn’t pass it up I’ll always play for the Philippines for sure.”