Everything you need to know before the FIBA 3x3 World Tour Debrecen Masters 2021
DEBRECEN (Hungary) - After 3x3's magical Olympic debut, the FIBA 3x3 World Tour returned in style with an unforgettable Lausanne Masters and the action is set to immediately intensify as the pro circuit moves to Debrecen on August 28-29
We will once again be bringing you the best players in the world, wherever you are, across social media and television.
Let's take a closer look at everything you need to know ahead of this weekend's action in Debrecen - one of 3x3's most iconic locations.
Where can I watch the Debrecen Masters?
Make sure you are following us on Twitter and Instagram for live updates in addition to Facebook and YouTube where we will be broadcasting live on both channels. Something that has been new and very exciting this year: we are also live on Twitch! We're also on TV all around the world. Check out our list of broadcasters.
Who is competing in Debrecen?
A total of 14 teams: Liman, Riga, Sakiai Gulbele, Ub, Piran, Amsterdam Talent&Pro, Novi Sad, Antwerp, Lausanne Sport, Graz, Warsaw, Debrecen, Emona, Paris Tchaff.
What are the pools?
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Who are the favorites?
This is a loaded field and the title race is wide open - just as you expected in 3x3. We had the shock of a lifetime in Lausanne when 12th seed San Juan stunned the world to take home the crown and re-establish Puerto Rico on the 3x3 map.
So, really, it's a bit of a guessing game who will win in Debrecen but let's give it a go. Unlike some of their rivals, No.1 seed Liman are at full-strength and hoping to break their drought in 2021 after semi-final finishes in Doha and Lausanne.
They return to the site of one of their greatest triumphs with Liman taking out Debrecen Masters 2019 in epic fashion playing with just three players in the final against Riga.
But they will be challenged with No.2 seed Riga hoping to get back on track after being knocked out of Lausanne by San Juan in the quarters. They will have to do it the hard way without superstar Karlis Lasmanis meaning Riga only have two Olympic Gold medalists left in their line-up.
Amsterdam Talent&Pro return to the World Tour having won their first ever Masters in style in Doha. They will be even stronger than back then with Netherlands Olympian Dimeo van der Horst in the line-up.
They may be the No.8 seed but Antwerp has become one of the best teams on the pro circuit in 2021. The Belgians already have won two Challenger titles this season and are hoping to capture a first ever Masters in Debrecen - a happy hunting ground for some of their players who helped Belgian qualify for the Olympics there in June.
Rounding out the favorites just has to be Ub, who were runnners-up in Lausanne and the Serbs currently lead the World Tour standings having also reached the quarters in Doha.
Who are the players to watch?
Who are the players to watch?
You could name any of Liman's star-studded foursome but we'll go with Stefan Kojic, who was dominant in Lausanne averaging 7.8 ppg even though he struggled with his two-point shot.
If his radar is right, then Kojic might just walk away with an MVP like he did in Debrecen two years ago.
Lasmanis might be missing but his partner-in-crime Nauris Miezis will be leading Riga and taking the cape. The Olympic Gold medalist surprisingly struggled in Lausanne but he rarely plays bad games so expect Miezis to return to his dynamic best in Debrecen.
Dejan Majstorovic aka the 'Maestro' has had a tough 12 months or so but started to find his groove at the Tokyo Olympics, where the smooth shooter helped Serbia win bronze.
The 'Maestro' was really back to form in Lausanne where he finished second overall in scoring and topped player value to lead Ub's run to the final. It's a beautiful sight to see one of 3x3's best ever players rediscover his game.
Debrecen will see the return of Maksim Kovacevic, who proved he was the recruit of the season with the Serb fueling Amsterdam Talent&Pro's golden run in Doha.
No list is complete without Thibaut Vervoort aka 'Must See TV' who has become a one-man wrecking ball. In just a few months, the 23-year-old has become one of the stars of the pro circuit but a first masters triumph with Antwerp would trigger debate whether he has become the best 3x3 player in the world.
And we just can't forget Michael Hicks aka 'Money in the bank' who will have to do it the tough way through qualification with Warsaw. If he does then look out because Poland's Olympian always rises to the occasion.
🇧🇪 Thibaut Vervoort ready for #SpaceJam 3 😳🔥 #3x3WT #3x3WTLausanne pic.twitter.com/dQNvctqK6Y— FIBA3x3 (@FIBA3x3) August 21, 2021