COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO – The NWBA announced the 2018 U.S. Men’s World Championships Wheelchair Basketball Team, following the four-day selection camp at the Olympic Training Center, May 23-26. The 2018 U.S. Team sees the return of 10 athletes from the 2016 Paralympic Games gold-medal team. The IWBF World Championships are set for Hamburg, Germany, August 16-26, at the Edel-Optics Arena, that will feature a total of 16 teams.
The road to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics for wheelchair basketball started in 2017 with the America’s Zonal Qualifying tournament, where Team USA claimed a gold medal after defeating Canada. In 2019, the U.S. Team will compete at the Para Pan Am Games in Lima, Peru. The quadrenium will close out with the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
2016 co-captainsSteve Serioof Westbury, New York, and Mike Paye of Warren, Michigan, return to the squad. Serio, a three-time Paralympian (2008, 2012, 2016), paced the United States in Rio from the point and has earned two consecutive Paralympic medals (2012 bronze, 2016 gold). Paye, also a three-time Paralympian (2004, 2008, 2016), is the contributor in a variety of looks for the U.S. men.
Matt Scott of Detroit, Michigan, returns in an attempt to make a fifth consecutive U.S. Paralympic Team. Scott has seen action on the big stage since the Athens Paralympics, and has earned two Paralympic medals (2012 and 2016). Two-time Paralympic medalistIan Lynchof Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, also returns to the squad. Both are versatile players on defense and offense.
Two-time Paralympic medalistsNate Hinze of Cedar Grove, Wisconsin, andTrevon Jenifer of Huntingtown, Maryland, have returned to the U.S. Men’s National Team after taking a year off following the Rio Games.
Four members of the 2016 gold-medal team return and are looking towards their second appearance at the 2020 Paralympics, and all earned a silver medal at the 2014 World Championships. Leading the quartet is Brian Bell of Forest Park, Illinois;Jared Arambula of Valparaiso, Indiana;Aaron Gougeof Wake Forest, North Carolina; andJake Williams of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Also joining the Paralympians and making their first U.S. World Championship team will be: John Boie of Milton, Wisconsin, and Jorge Sanchez of Oakland, California. Sanchez was a member of the 2013 and 2017 America’s Qualifier teams. Boie fills out the roster and brings experience from the perennial collegiate powerhouse of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
“I am excited with the focus and intensity of the athletes over the last four days, and the final selections were not easy,” said U.S. Men’s Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Missouri. “The final group of athletes position us for success, and I it is very promising to see how this team prepares in the next couple of months for Germany. The athletes who were not selected show a lot of promise to lead Team USA in the future.”
Lykins has coached three U.S. Paralympic gold-medal teams (2004 women; 2008 women; 2016 men). Joining him on the sidelines will be assistant coaches Robb Taylor of Auburn, Alabama,John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.Scott Meyer of Columbia, Missouri, is the team leader, withMary Vacala of Savannah, Georgia, serving as the Athletic Trainer. The Team Physician isDr. Gloria Beimof Crested Butte, Colorado.
Team USA qualified for the 2018 World Championships by winning the 2017 America’s Zonal Qualifier in Cali, Colombia. The U.S. Men last lost in the 2014 World Championships, where they claimed a silver medal. At the 2015 ParaPan Am Games, Team USA cruised to the gold medal.
Team USA has brought home a medal at all World Championships, including six gold medals, four silver medals, and one bronze medal. Team USA has played for the gold medal in 10 of the 11 IWBF World Championships.
At the Rio Paralympics, the U.S. Men outscored the field, 614-349. The U.S. Men’s Paralympic Team led eight of 12 stat categories. The U.S. Men won a bronze medal at the 2012 Paralympics, and were seventh in 2004 and fourth in 2008, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996.