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    Headlines

    The NWBA Launches Frank T. Burns Heritage Fund

    01/17/2020, 5:15pm CST
    By NWBA Team

    A fund to capture, preserve, and display wheelchair basketball and NWBA history.

    In honor of Frank Burn’s contribution to wheelchair basketball, the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) is proud to announce the Frank T. Burns Heritage Fund.

    This restricted Fund will be dedicated to projects that help do the following:

    • Capture wheelchair basketball and NWBA history
    • Preserve wheelchair basketball and NWBA history
    • Display wheelchair basketball and NWBA history 

    December's NWBA Toyota Team of the Month Winner

    01/14/2020, 2:00pm CST
    By NWBA Team

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is honored to announce the NWBA Toyota Team of the Month for December. December's voting pole was the closest yet with only one percent of the votes standing between the Portland Wheelblazers - Junior Varsity and the Bennett Blazers - Junior Prep. The winning team is the Bennett Blazers - Junior Prep!

    Congratulations to the Bennett Blazers. The Blazers currently have an impressive 9-0 record and James Pollard leads the team in scoring and in most statistical categories. The Blazers have demonstrated good sportsmanship during competition. At the Fairfax Tournament, the team squeezed in a 15 minute scrimmage to help three Sportable Spoke young athletes who had to play at the varsity level. David Ramos, one of the team captains, played on the Spokes team and helped distribute the ball to get all Spokes players involved.

    NWBA Toyota Team of the Month winners will receive a “Team of the Month” plaque. Nominees will receive a certificate. 

    The NWBA thanks all athletes, coaches, and supporters for participating in December’s Toyota Team of the Month award. 

    January’s Toyota Team of the Month nominations are due at 12:00 pm MST on Monday, February 3. To nominate a team, fill out the form below and send it to communications@nwba.org.

    2020 Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp Preview

    01/14/2020, 10:00am CST
    By NWBA Team

    Six athletes from the Rio 2016 team return.

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The 2020 Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp is underway at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. The Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp will start on-court play Wednesday, January 15 and will conclude on Sunday, January 19, when the initial athlete selection will be announced.

    A pool of 16 athletes has arrived for the four-day tryout. Six of the athletes in attendance were members of the 2016 Rio Paralympic Gold Medal Team. The camp will decide the initial pool of players for both the 2020 Toyota Team U.S. Women’s National Team and the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games team.

    The list of athletes in attendance for the 2020 Toyota Team USA Women's Selection Camp are below.

    Josie Aslakson, Jordan, Minnesota

    Abigail Bauleke, Savage, Minnesota

    Elizabeth Becker, Weddington, North Carolina

    Megan Blunk, Gig Harbor, Washington

    Abigail Dunkin, New Braunfels, Texas

    Kaitlyn Eaton, Houston, Texas

    Ixhelt Gonzalez, Chicago, Illinois

    Shelby Gruss, Ossian, Indiana

    Rose Hollermann, Elysian, Minnesota

    Darlene Hunter, Commerce, Michigan

    Alejandra Ibanez, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Bailey Moody, Alpharetta, Georgia

    Rebecca Murray, Germantown, Wisconsin

    Courtney Ryan, Chula Vista, California

    Natalie Schneider, Ord, Nebraska

    Lindsey Zurbrugg, Portland, Oregon

    Voting to occur at 2020 NWBA Annual Assembly on March 12

    BOARD OF DIRECTOR NOMINATIONS & ELECTIONS


    The NWBA Board of Directors has two positions up for re-election at the NWBA Annual Assembly. The Board of Directors positions available for election:

    •      Elected position, currently held by Daniel Ferreira

    •      Elected position, previously held by Tim Fox (fulfilling the un-expired term until 2021)

    The NWBA Governance committee received nominations for the positions from:

    Daniel Ferreira, Chicago, IL

    Please click the document below for the resume and/or credentials for the nominee.

    The elections for the NWBA Board of Director positions will be held in accordance with NWBA Bylaws Article 10, Section 4 – Board of Directors Elections. Please click here to read the recent announcement outlining the elections for NWBA Board of Directors. More information will be posted on the 2020 NWBA Annual Assembly when available.

    Tim Fox Appoints Melvin Juette as Interim Chair, Hall of Fame Committee

    01/12/2020, 8:30am CST
    By NWBA Board of Directors

    Photo courtesy of Jessica Yanesh

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Melvin Juette succeeds Frank Burns as Interim Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee. Juette was inducted into the NWBA Hall of Fame in March of 2019 as recognition for his many accomplishments throughout his time in the NWBA, which began as a member of the Red Dawgs in the mid 1980’s. He has had an illustrious career on the court, having climbed the ranks from Juniors to Intercollegiate to Adult Division and representing Team USA in the 1990’s and 2000’s. He has sought out many ways to give back to the game off of the court, as a member of various committees and as an Assistant Coach for the USA Men’s Paralympic Team.

    “Melvin brings an impressive breadth and depth of experience to this position, which requires a passion for the history of the NWBA and inherent knowledge of what excellence is, said Tim Fox, President – NWBA. The Board of Directors and I are grateful for Melvin’s willingness to step up, once again, for the NWBA, particularly as we all still grapple with the loss of a legend in the game.”

    This appointment is following the untimely passing of fellow Hall of Fame Member and former Chair of the Hall of Fame Committee, Frank T. Burns. “I’m honored to take on this interim role for the organization. Frank devoted himself to the Hall of Fame and turned it into a professional process and annual event, said Melvin Juette. I am committed to partner my colleagues and extend his legacy by making 2020 a memorable through this timely appointment.”

    Please join us in congratulating and thanking Melvin as he takes on this role.

    NWBA Hall of Fame Member Frank Burns Passed Away

    01/09/2020, 3:45pm CST
    By NWBA Board

    The NWBA celebrates the life and impact of Frank T. Burns (1952 – 2020)

    It is with great sadness that the NWBA shares that our coach, our mentor and friend Frank Burns has passed away on January 8.

    He came to the game through fortunate circumstance in 1974 and never left. Before he got to college, Frank Burns had never seen a wheelchair basketball game and probably didn't know it existed. But when the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater assigned him a roommate who happened to be a wheelchair user, it changed his life. And, in turn, that would impact the lives of so many others.

    He left Whitewater to the University of Kentucky where he earned a Master's degree in Therapeutic Recreation but would return to coach the Warhawks to their first Intercollegiate National Championship.

    His success on the bench reached the highest levels.

    • Head Coach of Casa Colina Condors, the dominant team of the 80’s with 8 National Championships from 1982-1990
    • Head Coach of Gold Medal Men’s USA Paralympic Team (Seoul 1988)
    • Assistant Coach of World Championship Men’s USA National Team (Sydney 1998) and Bronze Medal USA Paralympic Team (Sydney 2000)

    Frank was a teacher at his core and the common thread throughout his career was an emphasis on helping athletes gain access to sport and to the learning that would help them improve. It didn't matter if it was at the local team level or on the elite national team stage, he had a penchant for motivating athletes and teams to get the most out of them.

    More than a coach, Frank was a builder, helping grow the game and opportunities to play around the country by launching various new teams (Men’s, Women’s, Juniors) throughout his career.

    • Member of Lakeshore Foundation Team, which created various adaptive sports and coaching education programs both in Birmingham and throughout Alabama as well as the multisport National Paralympic Training Center
    • Conducted wheelchair basketball clinics in 17 different states and 5 countries (Japan, Korea, Bahrain, Canada, and Mexico)
    • Organized 20 years of NWBA National Development Camps
    • At the 1997 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Birmingham, AL, he secured prime time, national television coverage of the championship games
    • He was the first NWBA Executive Director (2000-02)
    • And most recently the Chair of NWBA Hall of Fame Committee

    More than the game, Frank loved the people who played the game, those who coached it, and those who organized things so others could play. He cherished the history of those who built it to this point and the promise of those yet to come who would take it further, and he worked tirelessly to ensure that history would not be forgotten.

    The only thing greater than his impact on growing the reach and quality of the game was the impact he had on the people he had a chance to work with. Coach, mentor and leader, he embodied the famous Will Rogers quote, "I never met a man I didn't like."

    He possessed a gift for gab, combining loquacity and levity, dropping one-liners that would disarm anyone. At his core, he was a salesman and a visionary. He always held close the ideal of what the NWBA could and should be and we are inspired by that every day.

    Over the past month that Frank was hospitalized, he used his time to remind us of the most compelling attribute about this organization: The NWBA is a Family.

    We are grateful to the Burns Family for their ongoing communication with us throughout the process and they appreciate all the love sent Frank's way. Just as importantly, we thank them for sharing their brother with us.

    Frank loved the game and the game loved him back. He will be missed but never forgotten.

    Details of the memorial services for Frank will be made available on his CaringBridge page at:

    https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/frankburns4

    All 12 athletes from 2019 Parapan American Games return.

    COLORADO SPRINGS, CO. – The NWBA is excited to announce the initial selection of athletes for the 2020 U.S. Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team. The initial selection was made at the conclusion of the Toyota Team USA Men’s Selection Camp, a four day camp at the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The initial selection of athletes to the 2020 U.S. Men’s National Wheelchair Basketball Team is the hopeful athletes to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games from August 25 to September 6 in Tokyo, Japan. 

    “It was a tough four days of basketball,” said 2020 U.S. Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, MO. “Players gave their all and as a staff and selection committee we appreciate that. We feel confident that these 17 guys are going to help us best prepare for Tokyo.”

    The group of 17 athletes proves to be rich with veteran talent and a welcomed addition of younger elite athletes. The pool includes ten members of the historic U.S. gold medal-winning team from the 2016 Rio Paralympics. The roster returns eleven athletes from the 2018 IWBF World Championships and all twelve athletes from the gold medal-winning team from the 2019 Parapan American Games held in Peru.

    Among the selected athletes are Mike Paye of Macomb, MI, and Steve Serio of Westbury, NY, the two captains of the gold-medal winning team from the 2015 and 2019 Parapan American Games. Paye and Serio played together on the 2006, 2010 and 2018 IWBF World Championship teams, and were together again at the 2016 Rio Paralympics where the U.S. Men won gold. Paye was a member of the 2004 Athens Paralympic team, and Serio was a contributor to the bronze-medal team for the 2012 London Paralympics.

    Matt Scott of Detroit, MI, joins the initial pool of athletes in hopes of making the final roster which would be his fifth appearance for the U.S. at the Paralympic Games. Scott has seen action on the big stage since the 2004 Athens Paralympics. He has earned a bronze medal at the 2012 London Paralympic Games and a gold medal at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games. In addition to the Paralympic medals, he has won gold at four Parapan American Games and silver at two IWBF World Championships. 

    Three-time U.S. Paralympian Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, IA also returns to the Team USA pool. Turek played a vital role on the gold-medal 2016 Rio Paralympic team and represented his country on the 2014 U.S. World Championship squad that won a silver medal. Turek was a member of the last three U.S. Men’s teams for the Parapan American Games (2011, 2015, 2019).

    Brian Bell of Forest Park, IL; Aaron Gouge of Grand Prairie, TX; and Jake Williams of Milwaukee, WI are returning to try to compete for their second Paralympic gold medal. Trevon Jenifer of Edinboro, PA joins the group with two Paralympic medals (2016 gold, 2012 bronze). All four athletes were on the gold medal 2016 Rio Paralympics team, 2018 and 2014 silver medal IWBF Worlds teams, and 2015 and 2019 gold medal Parapan American Games teams. 

    John Boie of Milton, WI will be looking to make his first Paralympic Games debut in Tokyo. Boie was a member of the silver medal 2018 IWBF World Championship team and 2017 America’s Cup gold medal team. 

    Jorge Sanchez of Dublin, CA, makes the cut for Team USA again after helping capture silver at the 2018 IWBF World Championships and gold at 2019 Parapan American Games. Sanchez was also a gold medalist for the 2013 and 2017 America’s Zonal Qualifiers. Another addition to the hopeful athletes this year is Matt Lesperance of Sun Prairie, WI, who was a member of the 2010 IWBF World Championships and the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

    Among the pool of athletes will also be Ryan Neiswender of Lebanon, PA, and Jorge Salazar of Delano, CA. Neiswender and Salazar were members of the gold-medal winning U.S. squad at the 2017 America’s Cup Zonal Qualifier. Neiswender returns for a fourth year on the list of athletes moving on in the selection process after the selection camp in January. Salazar is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. that has been awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

    Nate Hinze of Cedar Grove, WI and Jared Arambula of Valparaiso, IN will also be competing for a spot on the 2020 Tokyo team. Both were part of the silver-medal winning 2018 IWBF World Championships team, the gold medal 2016 Rio team, and the gold medal 2015 Parapan American Games team.  

    Marshall Lindsay of Stansbury Park, Utah and Fabian Romo of Chicago, Illinois have been a part of the high performance pipeline since competing on the 2017 U23 World Championships team and earned the opportunity to fight for a Tokyo 2020 spot as well. 

    These 17 athletes will compete in an international friendly in Chiba, Japan in April and then a domestic friendly at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado in May. The domestic friendly in May will also serve as the final selection camp for the official Tokyo Paralympic Games roster. Twelve athletes will be named to the Tokyo 2020 roster.   

    NWBA Toyota Team of the Month December Nominees Announced

    01/06/2020, 10:45am CST
    By NWBA Team

    COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO- The NWBA is proud to present December’s Toyota Team of the Month Program nominees.

    The nominees are as follows: 

    1. Portland Wheelblazers - Junior Varsity

     - Brought home their first win in over two years at the last tournament in Phoenix, AZ.

    - The players have fought hard through many disappointing losses. They never give up and have the best attitude, both on and off the court. They cheer each other on and compliment well-executed plays, while providing insight on those plays that didn’t go so well. Their coach has watched them grow both maturity wise and athletically due to hard work and determination.
     

    2. Bennett Blazers - Junior Prep

    - Team record 9-0 

    - James Pollard continues to lead the team in scoring and in most statistical categories. In 3 games in Fairfax, he scored 47 pts, had 11 assists and 20 rebounds along with 11 steals, and that was after not being allowed to shoot in the second half of 2 of the games.

    - The MVP of the Fairfax tournament, Logan Soleas, had 12 points, 11 assists and 19 rebounds along with 8 steals. He is a true point guard and guides and directs his team in all aspects of the game. He is instrumental in getting the younger more novice kids involved in the game. 

    - At the Fairfax Tournament the Blazer prep team squeezed in a 15 minute scrimmage to help out 3 Sportable Spoke young athletes who had to play at the varsity level. David Ramos, one of the team captains, played on the Spokes team and helped distribute the ball, to get all Spokes players involved.

    - Also, due to an unfortunate accident with the Fury team, which caused them to forfeit their game, they put together a fun scrimmage at the Fairfax tournament to get all prep players still in the gym an extra opportunity to play.

     

    3. Coastal Chairmen - Division III

    - 13-1 on the season and listed #8 on the NWBA (Division 3) December power rankings

    - They have came a long way together as a team and have grown as individuals as well as a unit. They have improved from a 2 win team to a legitimate conference contender and potential Nationals invitee.

    - They have a group of guys that strive to boost the popularity of the sport and attempt to recruit every time the opportunity presents itself.

    - They have fantastic team chemistry and genuinely care for and respect one another. Their veteran players take pride in teaching their younger players the fundamentals of the game. They play unselfishly and with high energy. Win or lose, they conduct themselves with sportsmanship and reverence. As a result, our opponents have told us on numerous occasions that they look forward to playing us year after year and love how we always make them feel welcome. 

    Nominees are also listed on the NWBA website at https://www.nwba.org/teamofmonthvoting.

    Voting

    To vote, visit https://www.nwba.org/teamofmonthvoting.

     Participants may vote once per day. Individuals may promote the Team of the Month page to their peers, family, and social media platforms. When sharing Toyota NWBA Team of the Month content, please tag @TeamToyota, @NWBA and include the hashtag #Toyota.

    Voting for the Team of the Month will conclude on Monday, January 13 at 9:00 a.m. Mountain. The winner will be announced on the NWBA website and social media platforms.  

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