SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MAY 18: Thomas Garlepp of Melbourne i-Athletic reacts during Sydney FIBA 3x3 World Challenger event hosted by the NBL held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay on May 18, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The 3×3 Pro Hustle tour gets underway this weekend in Melbourne, before moving to Geelong and Darwin over the next four weeks.

The country’s best 3×3 ballers will take to the court in three beautiful locations, with the Geelong event in particular set to put on a show.

Across the April 12-14 weekend, a free festival will run along with the tour in Geelong, meaning the event will be a perfect weekend away for family and friends!

The Pro Hustle tour will showcase NBL, WNBL and state league stars, with the teams playing off for a total prize pool of $150,000.

Head to the 3×3 Hustle website to purchase tickets for all three events.

Here are the key players for both the men’s and women’s competitions.

Men

Andrew Steel

The 28-year-old is the No.1 ranked 3×3 player in Australia, and was a gold medallist in the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup.

The Melbourne-born star will take to the court for the Spectres iAthletic during the upcoming carnival and understands the mindset he needs to get into before playing the small-sided version.

“You got to be able to do everything,” Steel said in a chat with 3x3hustle.com in regards to the differences between five-a-side basketball and 3×3.

“With five-on-five you can specialise a bit more, have guys who just do this one thing but 3×3, you got to be able to shoot, you got to be able to drive, you got to be able to defend.

“It benefits someone like myself who is a bit taller but can still shoot. Having those attributes is really beneficial.”

A strong tour from Steel will surely give him confidence at the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup later this year, as the Aussies look to defend their crown.

Tom Garlepp

The 32-year-old is the No.2 ranked 3×3 player in the country, and was also a member of the 2018 FIBA Asia Cup goal medal squad.

Garlepp also took out the men’s tournament MVP during the campaign.

The 204cm big man was a mainstay in the NBL for 11 seasons, featuring for the Sydney Kings, Gold Coast Blaze, Adelaide 36ers, Perth Wildcats.

Garlepp’s best season came back in 2015-16 with the Kings, averaging 14.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 26.0 minutes.

Peter Crawford

PC will be looking to add another 3×3 tour championship to his records, after taking out the 2018 version with The Platypuses.

Crawford spent 1999-2015 with the Townsville Crocs, Perth Wildcats and Adelaide 36ers, and was even an Olympian in 2012 with the Boomers.

The 39-year-old will take to the floor with the likes of Lucas Walker, Harry Froling and Jeremy Kendle for Statside Sports, so they’re certainly a team to watch in 2019.

Tom Wright

Wright was a teammate of Steel’s during the 2018 Asia Cup gold medal success, and will be on his side once again during the upcoming tour for Spectres iAthletic.

The 30-year-old is ranked at No.3 in terms of Australia’s best 3×3 product, and is looking forward to another impressive campaign.

Women

Bec Cole

The 26-year-old enters the Tour as the No. 1 ranked 3×3 women’s player in Australia, and is set to lead Spectres iAthletic into battle.

Cole was a bronze medallist at the 2018 FIBA Asia Cup, and had an impressive WNBL season with the Dandenong Rangers, finishing second in the WNBL19 MVP voting, as well as being named to the All-Star Five.

Cole is once again keen to take to the 3×3 court, telling 3x3hustle.com it’s good for her game.

“I’m really into fitness so if I’m not training or playing basketball I’ll be in the gym or doing something competitive,” Cole said.

“I think aspects of 3×3 definitely help your five-on-five game…finishing strong at the basket, backing yourself with every decision and not worrying about that turnover or missed shot.”

Carlie Smith

Smith is the No.5 ranked woman in Australia, and was also a member of the 3×3 Asia Cup bronze medal winning team.

The 24-year-old from Canberra was the country’s top ranked player 12 months ago, and still has her sights set on a spot in the 2020 Olympics.

Mon Conti

The 19-year-old is a superstar athlete, playing for both the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL and the Western Bulldogs in the AFLW.

The 5ft 5in pocket rocket won the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship, and has gone on to impress at WNBL level.

Speaking to 3x3hustle.com, Conti can’t wait for the tournament to get underway.

“We are going to have quite a strong team and I’m looking forward to getting back involved in that because of the physicality of it on the court. It’s a different game and a lot faster which makes it so much fun to play so I’m looking forward to these Pro Hustle events a lot,” Conti said.

“The Pro Hustle events are a lot of fun and it just gives you a different feel of the game. It just lets you go out and ball out which is a great feeling for everyone.

“Just the enjoyment of it – to play tough and intense basketball over a shorter period isn’t something you get to do all the time as well. When the opportunity comes to play 3×3 games, I’ll definitely always put my hand up to do that.”

Marena Whittle

The 25-year-old is gearing up for the 3×3 campaign, after a solid outing for Bendigo in the WNBL over the 2018/19 season.

She averaged 7.2 points, 1.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game, and will look to build on those numbers over the upcoming tour.