The game of basketball has turned Josh Wilson into quite the world traveler.

Wilson, who just completed his first season as Tumwater High School’s head boys basketball coach, has played the sport in Germany, Hungry and Finland.

In 2020, he hopes to add Japan to the list.

Wilson and Kelly Golob, an Olympia High School graduate who played collegiately with Wilson at Northern Arizona University, will compete in the 2018 USA Men’s 3×3 National Championship at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado April 21 and 22.

A triumph there will go a long way in helping the duo achieve their goal of playing for Team USA’s 3×3 basketball squad at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

USA 3x3 Basketball Squad Marc Axton, Curtis Medved, Kelly Golob, Ryan McDade and Josh Wilson
Marc Axton, Curtis Medved, Kelly Golob, Ryan McDade and Josh Wilson following the team’s victory at a 3×3 national qualifying tournament. Photo credit: Melanie Golob

“3×3 basketball has been very popular in Europe for a while now,” Wilson said. “It took a little while for it to make its way over to the United States, but now that it’s here, we think it’s going to take off. We’re excited to have this opportunity to represent Team USA.”

Wilson and Golob, who are co-founders of South Sound Roots Academy, which is non-profit AAU basketball program, are joined on the team by Ryan McDade, a former college teammate of the two, and Marc Axton, who played at Eastern Washington University, on the four-member 3×3 national team.

Preliminary round pool play at the National Championships will take place on April 21 with quarterfinals, semifinals and finals being held on April 22.

Last summer the International Olympic Committee approved the addition of both men’s and women’s 3×3 basketball to be part of the Olympic program beginning in 2020.

USA 3x3 Basketball Squad Axton
Axton fires up a 3 during the finals of the 3×3 national championship qualifying tournament.
Photo credit: Melanie Golob

“It’s a very fast-paced style of play,” Wilson said. “We don’t check the ball after every made shot. There really is no slowing down. You are just constantly going. It’s intense. It is a lot different than what people think a 3-on-3 game is.”

Governed by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), 3×3 features one 10-minute game with a 12-second shot clock with the first team to reach 21 points or the team that is leading after 10 minutes being declared the victor.

One aspect the team will have against the other 11 competing teams at the national tournament will be familiarity as Wilson, Golob and McDade first started playing with each other in college.

Golob, a 2011 NAU Hall of Fame inductee, was a 2006 ESPN the Magazine Academic All-American second-team selection while playing for the Lumberjacks. He finished his college career as all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,550 points and was the 5th player in Big Sky history to make 200 or more 3-pointers in his career.

USA 3x3 Basketball Squad Marc Axton, Curtis Medved, Kelly Golob, Ryan McDade and Josh Wilson
Marc Axton, Curtis Medved, Kelly Golob, Ryan McDade and Josh Wilson following the team’s victory at a 3×3 national qualifying tournament. Photo credit: Melanie Golob

Wilson holds the Northern Arizona school single-season school record and career assist record (636), and was a nominee for the Bob Cousy Award, which is annually awarded to the counties top collegiate point guard across all division of basketball.

Golob and McDade, who is also in the NAU Hall of Fame, played together at NAU with Golob graduating in 2006 and McDade in 2003. Wilson, a 2009 Northern Arizona graduate, was a freshman during Golob’s senior season. The team won 21 games that year with Golob leading the team in scoring (14.3 points per game) and Wilson pacing the squad in assists at 6.1 a contest.

The trio’s 3×3 experience unofficially started at the 2014 Hoopfest in Spokane. The team won the men’s open division after Wilson made a game-winning 2-pointer in the finals where Golob took home tournament MVP honors.

They have played together at Hoopfest, the world’s largest 3×3 tournament, every year since, twice finishing as the division’s runner-up.

USA 3x3 Basketball Squad Hoopfest Spokan
Golob (No. 9) shoots a 3 during the 2017 Hoopfest in Spokane. Photo credit: Melanie Golob

In 2017 they finished second, losing to a team led by Axton.

“I’ve actually known Mark since middle school,” said Golob, who works as a sports chiropractor at Olympia Sports Chiropractor. “We’ve always played against each other. We played against each other in high school and in college. When he joined the team it was like we had all been playing together forever.”

The team punched their ticket to the National Championships by winning a qualifying tournament in January at South Puget Sound Community College.

“All four of us played professionally,” Wilson said. “Families, careers and life pop up as you get older, but we will still had that passion for wanting to play the game. 3×3 allows us to do that. It really is the perfect setup for us.”

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