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Graduate-forward Joe Sherburne at 3X3U Tournament. Photo by Zac McCord

Joe Sherburne talks on 3X3U

Television and video games are successful in building and presenting the energetic atmosphere of basketball matches — the court echoes with the sounds of announcers commentating and fans cheering. For those who have never participated in a sports team performing on a national stage, it is difficult to imagine what this would be like. No one understands this atmosphere more than Retriever graduate-forward Joe Sherburne.

A few weeks ago, Sherburne was invited with three other America East players to participate in the Dos Equis 3x3U tournament in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The tournament is in its second year and has already gained many supporters. The tournament gives players the chance to play under a different set of rules and possibly win 150,000 dollars. In order to qualify, you must be a graduating senior, considering NCAA does not allow players to play for money. Sherburne found the play style to be a bit exhausting. “The biggest difference was just how tiring it was. It is so fast-paced and you can’t sleep on defense because they can kick the ball out and shoot an easy three,” Sherburne explained.

The pace of a three-on-three game is certainly different from that of a five-on-five. It becomes increasingly difficult when you go from playing on a full court to playing on a half court with minimal room for error. The tournament was held in the Mall of America with fans posted on every level of the mall watching the festivities. In the three games, America East went 1-2 and was eliminated by the second day of contention. In their lone victory, Sherburne scored 4 points and added 10 rebounds. Sherburne relished in that victory as his family and former coaches came to see him play. “I had a nice little cheering section with my family and also my coaches so that was a really fun game for me,” Sherburne said with a smile.

Outside of the court, you would think there would be a million things to do. From shopping to enjoying the sights and going to all the other events Minneapolis has to offer, your time could be spent lavishing in the twin city. Sherburne, however, spent most of his time in the hotel watching Impractical Jokers with his roommate. He even attended the college 3-point contest as well as the dunk contest hosted the night before the tournament games. While he did not do much off the court, he still found ways to have fun and even form a potential friendship with his America East rivals.

“We didn’t get to play too much but I enjoyed playing with them,” Sherburne said. “We all knew each other pretty well from playing four years in the conference but it was a good time.” The amount of excitement from the crowd seemed to rile up the players which made for some very exciting basketball. Sherburne blocked out the fans considering they were not cheering for anyone in particular. Sherburne did emphasize that the atmosphere was fun outside of the lights blinding him.

By the end of the tournament, Sherburne was able to walk away with a pocket full of money and an experience he will never forget. From the city to the people, Sherburne had one big takeaway from the weekend: “It’s fun to hate who you’re playing against but if you like doing that, then it is upsetting to learn you don’t actually hate them when you meet them.” Well said, Mr. Sherburne.