The NWBA embarks on its 70th season and after a great offseason, it’s shaping up to be one of the best seasons yet. Several new teams have been established by grassroots organizations. Reigning champions have moved up to conquer new divisions. A number of talented players have taken their talents to new rosters, and a new batch of young stars prepare to rise at the dawn of the season.
We’ll cover all that news, division-by-division, in the next week in our 2018-2019 NWBA Season Previews. Adult Division II is the centerpiece for today’s preview:
Replacing the Pack
Who will emerge as the top team in D-II now that the NMSCD Wolfpack has moved up to Adult Division I? The field left behind in their absence is closer than they may appear. The 2018 Division II National Tournament was full of upsets, sparked off by two first-round shockers (11-seed over a 6-seed and a 14-seed over a 3-seed). None of the top four seeded teams finished in the top four, other than the NMSCD WolfPack.
The Austin Rec’ers have arguably the best shot after finishing 5th at the 2018 NWBT. They bring back their anchor and leader Fred Esman, who was named to the 2018 Adult Division II All-Tournament 1st Team. The Nassau Kings are looking for redemption after entering the 2018 NWBT as the number 2 seed, but finishing in 6th place. Robbie Gordon led the Tampa Bay Strong Dogs to another top-8 finish and aims to finish higher this season.
Bring back the Boricuas
Puerto Rico brings back a team this season after a year off. Hurricane Maria left more than $90 billion worth of damage to the island in 2017, and leaves many without power a year later. Situations like these put life in perspective. No matter the outcome of the games, the NWBA can be a refuge and sanctuary for some to escape their day-to-day dilemmas. The ever-resilient Puerto Ricans return and carry the pride of a nation on their back as they embark on a new journey this season.
Puerto Rico isn’t the only new team to the division this year:
> ABC Medical Black Warriors - ABC Medical
> Rolling Celtics - Wheelchair Sports Federation
> Tucson Lobos - Southern Arizona adaptive sports
> LWSRA Hawks DII - LWSRA
> Sioux Falls Wheelers - Sioux Wheelers Adaptive Sports
> Charlotte Rollin Hornets Purple - Abilities Unlimited of the Carolina
Division II is always a wild ride, and this season should be no different. Look for the next and final preview tomorrow, covering the Adult Division I.