Series: Olympic Games

En route to Paris: Jan Driessen

In July, the Olympic Games will be held in Paris. TU Delft top athletes are ready to compete. What are their lives like and are they ready? Part 5: basketball player Jan Driessen.

(Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

You just missed being selected for the Tokyo Games. What is your current status in the Dutch team?

“I was selected for the Olympic qualification tournaments in Hong Kong and Utsunomiya, Japan, and played in both competitions. So it looks promising, but nothing is guaranteed.”

You won the Olympic qualification tournament in Utsunomiya in Japan and this gave you a ticket for Paris. How is your team preparing for the Olympic Games?

“The Netherlands has three teams that compete in international competitions: Team Amsterdam, Team Utrecht and Team Haarlem. The 12 men in the different teams train together all year long. The players who will represent the Netherlands are selected from this group. We train twice a day in the Velodrome in Amsterdam in the Netherlands. The training and the matches that we play are how we prepare for the Games.”

‘A match lasts 15 to 20 minutes and anything can happen’

You travel for a couple of months around the world to various competitions every year with both the national team and Team Amsterdam. How do you manage this physically?

“By taking things easy when we are in the Netherlands. We also look after our bodies. We are careful about what we eat and make sure we get enough sleep. But it is heavy once in a while. This is the case for all the players.”

Do you still have time for your study?

“I am not spending that much time on studying this year because of the Games. Over the last half year I took a subject worth six points. After Paris I will see if I can arrange my basketball schedule differently as I do want to graduate at some point.”

What is 3×3 basketball?

3×3 basketball is a separate discipline in basketball and has different rules than the traditional 5×5 basketball. 3×3 basketball is played by two teams of three players. It is played on half a basketball court and has one basket. An official match lasts either 10 minutes or until one of the teams wins 21 points. The ball used is smaller than a regular basketball. It is the size of a women’s basketball but is as heavy as a man’s basketball.

What you think your chances at an Olympic medal are?

“A match lasts 15 to 20 minutes and anything can happen. It also depends on what happens that day. Eight countries will compete in the Games so almost half of them will win a medal. We are a strong team so it looks like we have a chance.”

5×5 basketball is probably more familiar to most people than 3×3 basketball. That said, the Netherlands has never been placed to compete in the Games with a 5×5. But it has done so with a 3×3. How do you explain this?

“3×3 basketball is quite a new sport. The basketball association and the NOC*NSF (the umbrella organisation for sports in the Netherlands, Eds.) did a good job by taking it seriously straightaway. They put a lot of time and effort into putting together a great programme.

If you look at the world’s top competition, the American competition (NBA, Eds.) you see that the best players there always choose 5×5 basketball. They don’t really play 3×3 yet so even a small country like ours stands a better chance of getting to the top in 3×3.”

Who: Jan Driessen
Date of birth: 4 December 1996
Study: Biomedical Engineering, master’s
Sport: 3×3 basketball
Sports association: Team Amsterdam
Team: 3×3 Orange Lions
Status: Qualified for Paris

News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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