Shooting hoops earns students trip to China

06-Nov-2018 5:45 AM

Zac Easthope never imagined playing three-a-side basketball would earn him a trip to China to represent New Zealand and Oceania.

He is one of four University of Auckland students who make up the champion men’s 3x3 basketball team competing at the FISU 3x3 World University League event in Xiamen later this month.

Lis Haraqia, Sam Aruwa, Shay Graham, Zac Easthope make up the team that won the national inter-university tournament in April earning the right to represent Oceania.

With exams nearly out of the way, the team will be hitting the courts to get in some extra practice before they go up against 15 of the best university teams from all over the world.

3X3 basketball, also known as street basketball or ‘streetball’, is a form of basketball played three a side on one hoop. It was officially announced as a new Olympic sport in June 2017 and will debut at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Zac, who is studying toward a Bachelor of Science, says playing basketball while studying has given him opportunities he could not have imagined. 

“I never thought I would be able to play sport at a high level overseas while studying at university, but the way FISU runs the tournament and how the University has supported us has made it possible,” Zac says.

Commerce and Law student Lis agrees. “Training and trying to stay on top of my studies has been challenging but also enjoyable,” he says.

“Having an opportunity to play basketball at this level has also helped me stay focused and motivated with both basketball and studies throughout the year.”

The team is heading to Xiamen on 12 November and will play three pool games over the course of a week. In game one they play the Faculty of Technology of Alagos from Brazil, game two is Uganda’s Ndejje University, and game three is Payame Noor University in Iran.

“I can’t wait to travel to China to represent the University of Auckland at an international level,” Lis says.
Danelle Clayton | Media Adviser
University of Auckland Communications Office
Tel: 09 923 4149  Mob: 027 537 2580  Email:

Topic: General News

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