ARLINGTON, TX. – The NWBA and USA Men's Head Coach, Ron Lykins, are excited to announce the selection of athletes for the 2021 Toyota Team USA Men’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. The selection was made at the conclusion of the 2021 Toyota Team USA Men’s Selection Camp, a three day camp at the University of Texas-Arlington in Arlington, Texas. The twelve selected athletes will compete at the (postponed) 2020 Paralympic Games from August 24 to September 5 in Tokyo, Japan.
Men's USA Head Coach, Ron Lykins (Columbia, MO) feels confident in the selection despite the challenges brought upon by the pandemic.
"We were very pleased with how competitive this year's selection was. Without having the chance to train together in over a year and a half we picked up where we left off," said Lykins. "The twelve athletes selected give us plenty of veteran leadership that should help us have success in Tokyo. We are very excited to work with this team."
The twelve athletes prove to be rich with veteran talent. The roster includes eight members of the U.S. gold medal-winning team from the 2016 Rio Paralympics and returns eleven athletes from the gold medal-winning team from the 2019 Parapan American Games held in Peru.
Among the selected athletes are Michael Paye of Warren, MI, and Steve Serio of Westbury, NY, the co-captains of the gold-medal winning team from the 2015 and 2019 Parapan American Games. Paye and Serio played together on the 2006, 2010 , 2014 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 2008 Beijing Paralympic team, and Serio was a contributor to the bronze-medal team for the 2012 London Paralympics.
Matt Scott of Detroit, MI, joins the final roster making his fifth appearance for Team USA at the Paralympic Games. Scott, a cornerstone of Team USA, 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 consecutive 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 roster for his fourth Paralympic campaign. 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.
Brian Bell of Birmingham, AL and Jake Williams of Milwaukee, WI are returning to help Team USA defend their Paralympic gold medal. Trevon Jenifer of Huntington, MD joins the group with two Paralympic medals (2012 bronze, 2016 gold). All three athletes were on the 2014 and 2018 silver medal IWBF World Championship teams, and 2015 and 2019 gold medal Parapan American Games teams.
Nate Hinze of Cedar Grove, WI will be making his third appearance on the Paralympic stage (London 2012, Rio 2016), and is looking for another gold. He was also a member of the silver-medal winning 2014 and 2018 IWBF World Championship team and the gold medal 2015 Parapan American Games team.
Another addition to the roster this year is Matt Lesperance of Coleman, WI, who was a member of the bronze medal 2010 IWBF World Championship team and the fourth place 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
John Boie of Milton, WI; Jorge Sanchez of Oakland, CA; Ryan Neiswender of Lebanon, PA will make their Paralympic Games debut in Tokyo. Boie and Sanchez earned a silver medal at 2018 IWBF World Championships, and all three athletes helped Team USA win a gold medal at 2017 America’s Cup and 2019 Parapan American Games.
Also joining Coach Lykins on the sidelines will be:
- Assistant coach Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama
- Assistant coach Christina Ripp-Schwab of Edgerton, Wisconsin
- Team Leader Tony Frescas of Omaha, Nebraska
- Athletic Trainer Mary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia
Assisting in preparations as part of the extended staff are:
- Strength and Conditioning coach Katie McClosky of Houston, Texas
- Nutritionist Sally Baumann of Greater Brisbane, Australia
- Athletic Trainer Jeremy Johnson of Dothan, Alabama
- Psychologist Adam O'Neil of Lancaster, California
These 12 athletes will compete in Tokyo, Japan for the 2020 Paralympics on August 24 to September 5. Team USA originally qualified for the Games by winning gold against Canada in Lima, Peru at the 2019 Parapan American Games. Click here to view the 2020 Paralympic wheelchair basketball schedule.