Garlepp Excited by Future in 3×3

The respect Tom Garlepp was held in amongst the basketball community grew enormously with the way he conducted himself during a challenging NBL season at the Sydney Kings and it’s to his everlasting credit his passion for the game hasn’t dwindled as he embarks on a 3×3 journey.

Despite finishing the 2017/18 NBL season sixth all-time in games played at the Kings, the former club captain and MVP winner didn’t get the playing time he likely deserved or should have.

But it’s to his enormous credit, that he never once dropped his head, he never once stopped being the ultimate teammate and professional or stopped for a second giving his absolute all to the Kings.

Those character traits make the 32-year-old someone who could still have plenty to offer an NBL club, but his immediate future is taking part in the growing 3×3 game where his younger brother Josh has really made his mark.

Melbourne’s Docklands hosted Australia’s first ever professional event on Sunday as the NBL 3×3 Pro Hustle Series began attracting plenty of big names including Oscar Forman, Luke Schenscher, Peter Crawford, Anthony Petrie, Jeremy Kendle and even Tommy Greer.

Garlepp certainly hasn’t given up on continuing his NBL career next season, but the 262-game veteran is excited to take up the challenge of the 3×3 concept having seen just how well his brother has done in the game.

The 2016 Sydney Kings MVP has been named to the Australian team that has made it’s way to China participate in the 2018 FIBA Asia Cup coached by David Biwer and with his teammates Andrew Steel, Owen Odigie and Tom Wright.

While Garlepp’s place in his Bears team on Sunday at Docklands was filled by Felix von Hofe, he is excited about what’s upcoming in the 3×3 game with the Asia Cup. The whole concept of the Pro Hustle event immediately grabbed his attention.

“It doesn’t matter what it is, if you get to represent your country it’s the ultimate honour,” Garlepp said.

“Anyone who glances twice at those opportunities I always find it a bit strange. For me it was awesome and I was really happy to receive the call from Dave and I’m thrilled to be around that environment again.

“Well it’s basketball so for me any basketball as long as it’s competitive is something I want to be involved with. I really jumped at the opportunity to firstly play with Dave and those guys, but to wear Australian colours for me was an absolute no-brainer.

“I’ve been sort of following by brother’s travels around the world doing the 3×3 thing the last two or three years and kept a close eye on a lot of the international tournaments, rankings and how it works.

“I feel like I have a reasonable lay of the land just from watching a lot of it progress so I’m really looking forward to having another crack at it and trying to give the Asian Cup a real shake.”

Garlepp’s younger brother Josh, also back playing in the WA SBL for the Perry Lakes Hawks and working as a reporter with Fox Sports News, has certainly had plenty of success in the 3×3 concept already and it’s something that his older sibling has been following closely.

“I admire the way he has really tried to figure the game out. It is a lot different than what people think it is and Josh has really put himself out there to try and figure out the angles, the rules, what you can get away with and the style of play you need to have,” he said.

“He has done really well with the game and it’s not just him, but some of the crew from Perth that he’s got together with over the years.

“They’ve done some really good things with the game and I know they will keep chipping away with it not only because they enjoy basketball, but they enjoy the unique challenges that 3×3 presents.”

As much as anything involving basketball is appealing to Garlepp, the fact that being involved in the 3×3 game has already given him the chance to now be named to play for Australia and longer term the sport will be at the 2020 Olympics makes it especially attractive.

“As a country I think we’re still figuring out the format and we are working out what level of basketballer we will send to the Olympics to represent us,” Garlepp said.

“I think that’s exciting too because it gives a lot of people, like myself, a chance to try the sport and once they do land on the type of athlete or player they want, you have to go through some trial and error to get there.

“It’s cool to be in the process and there’ll be a real wide range of players and people tried, and I think that’s really exciting for everyone who gets a turn.”

Garlepp isn’t sure what his future in the NBL holds following the way the 2017/18 season unfolded, but at just 32 years of age, with a body that’s sound and with his experience and ability to contribute in so many ways, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise to see him continue in 2018/19.

He would be more than happy for that to eventuate, but in the short-term his life isn’t exactly in relaxation mode.

“I’m really enjoying my life at the moment, it’s very busy. My wife, our kids and I moved into a new place in Lane Cove in Sydney and I work as the facilities manager at North Sydney Basketball Stadium and Association,” he said.

“I coach the women’s ABA side there and we are currently undefeated, and I played my first game for the men on the weekend. So it’s all very, very busy but it is potentially a career transition for me.

“But having said that, I’m still looking around and haven’t retired but I knew that this time of my life would be quite busy as I figure everything out. But I’m in a really good place in my personal and professional life, and I’m really enjoying where I’m at. I’m very happy at the moment.”

Having grown up in Perth and started his career with the Wildcats before stints at the Gold Coast Blaze and Adelaide 36ers, Garlepp had no way of knowing when he arrived in Sydney in 2012 that it would become home.

But for himself, wife Renae Camino and their two children, they couldn’t be happier with their set up right now.

“I have family in Perth and that’s home as well, but Sydney really has become our home now,” Garlepp said.

“If it doesn’t pan out and eventuate that I find my way to an NBL club, I really want to pursue my career here and some of the ideas I have, and where I see myself fitting into the professional world.

“I think that will lead me to being in Sydney and I do love this town. I love living here so everything means this is a good spot for me and my family now.”

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