The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is excited to highlight athletes for the countdown to the 2021 Toyota Adult and Junior National Wheelchair Basketball Championship Series. At 50 days out, we highlight Preston Howell. Howell is a sophomore in high school, has played with the NWBA for over five years, and currently plays for the Charlotte Rollin' Hornets Varsity- Junior (Varsity) and Charlotte Rollin Hornets DIII teams.
Why are you excited about Nationals?
"I am very excited for nationals because it is the biggest tournament of the year. The national proving grounds. Where the best of the best get to fight for it all, and leave it all out there on the court. It is also seeing the familiar faces that I have gotten to build friendships with over the years. The friendships and unforgettable memories with teammates at hotels and dinners. I am hoping to experience that again this coming June. I am also hopeful that at nationals my team, the Rollin’ Hornets will get to prove to everyone that we are not to be taken lightly."
What are you looking forward to most?
"The thing I am mostly looking forward to most is to play ball. There is not much better than having the ball in my hands, blisters on my fingers, sweat and dirt on my jersey, and shooting that ball and hearing the sound of nothing but net. I am also looking forward to growing relationships with teammates and competing teams. And growing as a player and person. The most valuable thing to me that comes with basketball isn’t winning, or trophies, or awards, it’s the people the friendships that I have been blessed with."
What have you been doing to prepare for Nationals?
"I have been working on my game day in and day out. From putting in the work on the court and in the gym, to watching film and keeping track of stats. I have been putting in dozens of hours a week into this game, purely for the love of it. I have also had the honor to be apart of the DIII team in Charlotte this year. I have gotten the opportunity to learn from many great players and coaches. I am hopeful that all these hours will pay off soon in Witchita."
How many National Tournaments have you attended?
"I have attended 8 national tournaments, this year will be my 9th national tournament. A few of those years we lost in the first round or had no hopes of even winning a game. But I am excited and hopeful for what this national tournament will have in store for the Rollin’ Hornets."
Most memorable National Tournament experience?
"My most memorable national tournament experience would have to be in 2018 when we won the national title at the prep level. Where we got to cut the net down, and get to wear the shirt of champions. Especially celebrating with the team afterwards! Feeling the pure excitement and accomplishment. That year I also won MVP for the championship game and the prep division. So far that has been my most memorable and successful national tournament, I am hoping to add to that this coming June."