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Former Saint Mary’s standout Calvin Hermanson returns to Spokane for first Spokane Hoops 3x3 World Invitational

UPDATED: Tue., June 25, 2019, 9:50 p.m.

Spokane has been relatively kind to former Saint Mary’s guard Calvin Hermanson.

Hermanson endured four years of jeers by raucous Kennel Club members, but the goggles-wearing All-West Coast Conference talent twice left the McCarthey Center with a smile.

“I like playing in Spokane. I’m tied for the most wins by a Saint Mary’s player at the Kennel, a 2-2 record,” said Hermanson, who played his rookie professional season in Spain last fall.

“And we smacked the Gonzaga team up there at TBT last year.”

He referenced the Saint Mary’s alumni squad’s 95-48 rout of Gonzaga alums A Few Good Men last summer at Lewis and Clark High School on the eve of Hoopfest, as part of The Basketball Tournament.

When Hermanson returns to the Lilac City this week, he’ll be playing in his first Hoopfest, but in a different capacity than most of the 6,000-plus teams registered for the world’s biggest 3-on-3 tournament.

He and former Santa Clara guard Henry Caruso are teamed up in the eight-team Spokane Hoops 3x3 World Invitational at Nike Center Court, featuring FIBA rules and a $5,000 grand prize.

FIBA games are 10 minutes long but are continuously moving, featuring a 12-second shot clock with no breaks between buckets.

The tournament, which includes a championship berth to the Edmonton 3x3 Challenger in September, begins Friday at noon.

“With (FIBA 3x3) being in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo next year, and us being one of the bigger 3-on-3 tournaments in the world, we thought it would be a great opportunity to showcase it at Hoopfest,” Hoopfest projects and events manager Connor Walsh said.

The tournament runner-up earns $2,500 and third-place team gets $1,000.

Hermanson and Caruso teamed up after their college seasons in 2018 at the 3X3U on Final Four weekend in San Antonio, representing the WCC.

They’ll be teamed up on 3BALL Select with former Niagara star Marvin Prochet – a second-team All-Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference selection last season – and former NAIA All-American Trey Bardsley (Nebraska Wesleyan).

“I got to watch some Hoopfest games last year, and it was such an incredible atmosphere,” Hermanson said. “I’m looking forward to playing it with FIBA rules. It’s really fast-paced and values the 3-point shot.”

Caruso, who stayed on as a graduate assistant coach at Santa Clara this past season, agreed.

“As a whole, 3x3 is taking off and gaining a lot of notoriety,” said Caruso, who averaged 12 points a game as a senior. “And Spokane is a city that loves hoops, and has a lot of history, so I’m looking forward to playing it there.”

Elite men’s and women’s games will occupy Nike Center Court on Saturday and Sunday, but with the addition of the FIBA 3x3, Walsh said it essentially adds another day of hoops to the 30-year-old tournament.

“There will be good games Friday, and the music will be pumping while hundreds of teams will be doing their team check-in at the nearby Bennett Block parking lot,” Walsh said.

The championship game is slated for 5:40 p.m.

A look at the other seven teams playing Hoopfest’s first FIBA rules tournament.

Lee and Hayes: Former Eastern Washington University standouts Marc Axton and Parker Kelly have again teamed up with former Gonzaga wing Mike Hart and former Northwest Nazarene big man Robert Lippman.

Lee and Hayes used this same roster to win Hoopfest elite titles in 2017 and 2018

Millwood: West Valley Eagles unite.

Ex-college hoopers Brady Bagby (CCS/Lewis-Clark State), Brandon Davis (Blue Mountain CC/Alaska-Fairbanks) and Jordan Gassman (Blue Mountain CC) – all former West Valley stars – have teamed up with Carson Fuller, a former Ferris letterman and Pac-12 champion javelin thrower at Washington.

Roots Academy: The Hoopfest elite bracket regulars and ex-Northern Arizona University standouts are at it again.

Kelly Golob, Josh Wilson and Ryan McDade – all NAU alums – have teamed up with Kyle Randall, who played for the NBA G-League’s Delaware Blue Coats this past season after starring at Central Michigan.

Edmonton: The 13th-ranked 3x3 team in the world also features ex-Northern Arizona standouts.

Former NAU sharpshooter Steve Sir, who owns the NCAA Division I record for career 3-point percentage (46.8), has teamed up with fellow ex-Lumberjacks star Kyle Landry. The Canadian team also features ex-Canada college stars Lee Danderfer (MacEwan University) and Jordan Jensen-Whyte (University of British Columbia).

Colorado City: This team is dripping with NBA G-League experience.

Sheldon Jeter, a former Pitt guard, played for the Maine Red Claws this past season. Jeter’s teammates Taaj Ridley (Iona), Taylor Braun (North Dakota State) and Nate Brown (St. Peter’s) spent time with the Long Island Nets, Salt Lake City Stars and Austin Toros, respectively.

3BALL Minnesota: Brensley Haywood (NCAA Division III St. Mary’s), Caleb Palkert (NCAA Division II Winona State), Kurtis Koenig (D-II Southwestern Baptist) and Paris Kyles (D-II Minnesota State-Mankato) all played small college basketball, but are aiming for big bucks.

NY Harlem: The 10th-ranked 3x3 team in the world doesn’t feature a player from a major college basketball program, but that hasn’t seemed to matter.

Dominique Jones, a former member of the Harlem Globetrotters, Kidani Brutus (D-I Manhattan College), Marcel Esonwune (D-III York College) and Antoinne Morgano are aiming for cash and an even higher ranking.

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