People often claim that they are a “baller for life,” but few can say they embody that mindset as much as Jimmy Moceri of Macomb, Michigan.
“I have been playing basketball basically my whole life,” Moceri said in a phone interview. “Ever since the first grade.”
Moceri earned a spot on his high school varsity team in his freshman year and quickly established himself as a sharpshooter for Dakota High School in Macomb, Michigan. After three seasons on the team, he started getting attention from Division II and even some Division I NCAA teams. The recruitment process ended though when Jimmy was involved in a single-car accident at the age of 17, resulting in an injury to his spinal cord at the T-11 vertebrae.
He was invited to be an assistant coach for the Dakota High School varsity team the following year. Through that role, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball by someone who played the sport, Jerry Sarasin. Although it took Jimmy a little while to get acclimated to wheelchair basketball, he remembers the moment that he truly fell in love with it.
“One game, I faked left and went right all in one motion,” Moceri recalled. “I drove by the defender with the ball and thought, ‘oh ya, this is cool.’”
Since then, Moceri has played for multiple teams, including the Michigan Thunderbirds, Fusion Firestorm and the Mary Free Bed Pacers. As a current member of the Pacers, he has helped them move up to seventh in the January Adult Division I NWBA rankings. However, he believes that their ranking may dip after a 0-4 loss in the Phoenix tournament last month.
But the Mary Free Bed Pacers sharpshooter is optimistic about the upcoming 2018 National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament presented by ABC Medical. “We’re hoping to get a good seed, around seven to ten,” Morceri explained. “We may not be the favorites, but we have the talent to beat some of the top ranked teams.”
After going to two national tournaments with the Fusion Firestorm and three with the Mary Free Bed Pacers, Jimmy is entering his sixth tournament as a veteran for his team. When asked about tips for players going into their first NWBT, he stated that, “you just have to be around it as much as possible and prepare. All the other teams will be well prepared to win it all, so you have to try to work harder than them.”
The Mary Free Bed Pacers look to resolve their issues from the Phoenix tournament as national tournament draws closer. Make sure to catch the Mary Free Bird Pacers at the 2018 NWBT as Jimmy Moceri tries to lead them to victory.
The 2018 NWBT presented by ABC Medical is the national championships for the Adult Division (I, II & III) and Junior Division (Prep & Varsity). The 2018 NWBT presented by ABC Medical is scheduled for April 12-15 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. Please visit http://www.nwba.org/2018nwbt for more information and click here to purchase tickets.