In what may be the most innovative addition to basketball since the three-point shot, play opened Tuesday in the inaugural 360 Hoops Invitational, a tournament showcasing a three-on-three, three-basket, three-team circular court form of the sport, continuing through Saturday at DME Sports Academy (2441 Bellevue Ave., Daytona Beach). From elementary school age kids up to elite men and women, 360 Hoops (www.play360hoops.com) is an exciting, inclusive addition to the shape of the game at all levels.
In 360 Hoops, three teams compete at a time on the 30-foot diameter circular court, which features a single stanchion with three regulation baskets facing away in each direction. Players can score for their teams in any of the three baskets, and the three-team format allows for brackets to efficiently reduce while ensuring all teams get adequate court time. Moving without the ball is a key skill, ensuring a great workout while competing.
“The 360 Hoops program lets more kids have more fun with basketball at a younger age,” said Shane Brey, Co-Founder, 360 Hoops. “The 360 Hoops Invitational will help us spread the word of how this amazing new version of basketball provides a great, fun workout for players, entertaining action for fans and an amazing opportunity for schools, parks and recreational organizations, resorts and other athletic facilities to enhance their offerings in an engaging new way.”
Tuesday’s play at the Invitational (https://dmesportsacademy.com/360hoopsinvitational/) began with co-ed elementary age kids. Middle school boys and girls events will follow Wednesday at 6 p.m.; High School age take the court on Thursday (girls) and Friday (boys) at 6 p.m.; elite former collegiate athletes have their own bracket on Saturday at 9 a.m., followed by elite men at 1 p.m. and elite ladies at 6 p.m. All events are being conducted under strict COVID-19 protocol, including masks, frequent handwashing, facility access limited to athletes and staff only, daily temperature readings, social distancing and other practices.
“DME Sports programs are constantly involved in the testing and research of new products and services,” said Mike Panaggio, Co-Founder & Owner, DME Sports. “Video cameras are built into the backboards and there are several other cameras that provide a 360 video experience. Also, we’re excited that DME Academy players will participate alongside others.”
360 Hoops Invitational games will be streamed live via the 360 Hoops YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/360hoops), with the Elite finals set for tape-delayed national TV broadcast, produced by Emmy-Award winning producer Harry Cicma. Innovative camera angles and technology, including 360 VR, will be incorporated into the broadcast.
360 Hoops Invitational event partners include Dynasty Hoops, DME Sports Academy, Orlando Boom, and Ace League.
The event will be followed by a lively and informative roundtable discussion with high-level basketball minds including Division I coaches which will also be filmed and streamed during the television broadcast. Featured panelists scheduled to appear include Howard head coach Kenny Blakeney; Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey; Stetson assistant Brendan Ahearn Suhr; DME Sports Academy co-founder and owner Dan Panaggio; U.S. Army captain and former Augusta State Univ. star Ernesia Wright; Orlando Boom director of player development Mercedes Sirmons; and former Daytona State College and University of Central Florida standout Andrea Ayala.