A basketball dream come true

The Swish 3x3 basketball tournament returns to TRU February 2024!

“Basketball has a vibe,” said Artyom Zhurakovskii while giving an interview to the Omega. To some Zhurakovskii’s story could be one of the most inspiring that Thompson Rivers University has had in years. When Zhurakovskii came to Canada from Russia, he brought with him grand ambitions; from being a sports event manager in Kamloops to running his own event, a goal he achieved in 2022. This year’s basketball tournament, his third, is run by the concept of 3×3, where the game plays out on half of the court with two teams and six total players. Although the previous tournaments were held on single days, the next event will be the first to be held over two days. For Zhuraskovskii, Swish 3×3 isn’t only about basketball, it’s about dreams and passion. 

From a young age, Zhurakovskii found himself constantly involved in a number of sports, from hockey to soccer and everything in between; but it was basketball that really got his blood pumping. He started focusing on PR for basketball tournaments, hosting his first at only 16. 

“Swish 3×3 has been my dream since I was a kid,” said Zhurakovskii.  Considering the amount of sports he participated in when he was younger, it’s amazing how he settled on 3×3 basketball. “It’s fast-paced, less regulated, dirtier. It’s the vibe. You have a DJ, music is playing. The players are playing faster. It’s all about the atmosphere. Atmosphere of youth.” said Zhurakovskii. 

“We are hosting it for the third time,” said Zhurakovskii. The only other basketball event in Kamloops was Hoops in the Loops which runs only once a year. Swish is the first student-run basketball event of this kind. One of Zhurakovskii’s goals was to bring the basketball culture in Kamloops to TRU’s campus. 

Zhurakovskii mentions that the name was something he had been thinking about for a long time. Swish is a score in basketball that’s made without touching the rim or background. 

September 2022 was definitely a memorable month for Zhurakovskii. His dream finally came true. 18 teams in four different divisions attended the first tournament. But the event was not limited to just TRU students, as a number of high schoolers from Kamloops came out to play as well.  

With the help of friends, he managed to bring his dream to life. 

“I kept going even though things weren’t looking lovely,” said Zhurakovskii. “My friends helped me out in every part of the organization. They were the biggest support. Putting up the event, bringing equipment to the courts. It’s all about the friends.”

Zhurakovskii believes that this tournament brought Kamloops’ basketball community together. Several teams were primarily representing their countries. There were teams consisting only of Kazakh players and the other one of Mexico players, as Zhurakovskii remembers. A number of teams were international. Students of different cultures got together to play the game they all love – basketball. 

The following 3×3 tournament will be the last run by Zhurakovskii.  

“I would love to pass the project to someone with the same desire as me. To some first or second-year student that has the same passion as me. Because you have to be brave. Have to have the desire. It’s not paid. You have to like it. It could possibly be the last time that we’re running the event.” 
Whether you’re playing or just watching, visit TRU’s Old Gym from Feb. 19-20th, 2024 to experience the action. For more updates and information follow their Instagram @swish_3x3_kam.