Bloomington, MN –
For four years, Joe Sherburne dazzled UMBC fans with his superb shooting skills and his tenacious defense. He led a team that started out with four wins in his freshman year, to three consecutive 20+ win seasons, and two post-season berths, including the Retrievers historic upset over Virginia. Through all that, Sherburne has not been able to make money from basketball. But, on Friday that would all change.
Sherburne was selected to play in the 3X3U National Championship in Minneapolis, MN. The 3X3U is a tournament where athletes from every D1 conference compete against other conferences for the chance to win $100,000. As a representative of the America East conference, he had the opportunity to play alongside longtime foes John Carroll and JR Lynch from Hartford and Ernie Duncan from Vermont.
The tournament was held at the world-famous Mall of America. It was quite the spectacle as in the center of the massive rotunda in the middle of the mall was half of a basketball court. Players bustled about the mall throughout the day as dozens of games took place in front of a large crowd, who hovered above them as they stood at the railings on the four floors above.
The games were quick, which kept the action exciting. Each game lasted 10 minutes, or until a team scored 21 points. There was also a 12-second shot clock, which forces players to take contested shots, long-range threes and shots with bad looks. At times, this made the play look somewhat messy, but for the most part, it seemed to produce shots that kept the crowd in awe.
In the first game, the America East would be unable to contribute much to the amusement of the crowd. The quick pace and unfamiliar format seemed to be a rough adjustment for the team as they scored just six points against the Big South conference.
But in the second game, the America East seemed to really find their rhythm. In a tightly contested game against the WAC, they were able to come out on top 21-17. In that game Sherburne scored his first points of the tournament, scoring 4 points and adding 10 rebounds.
In their third game, they fought hard against the SEC. They were able to trade baskets until the game was tied at 14, but the SEC went on a 4-0 run. The America East tried to climb back into the game, but an unfortunate two-shot foul behind the arch gave the SEC the win 21-16.
Though the team failed to make it to the round of 16, they did not end the tournament empty-handed. In their win against the WAC, the team won $1,000. They were given the bag of money and threw it up in the air as they celebrated their win.