Ten Paralympians Highlight Men's Wheelchair Basketball Roster for Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

By National Wheelchair Basketball Association | Jan. 07, 2016, 10:57 a.m. (ET)


Matt Scott, pictured at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games, is one of 10 Paralympians returning to the roster for the men's wheelchair basketball team

The U.S. men's wheelchair basketball roster for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games has been reduced from 26 athletes to 16 and is headlined by 10 returning U.S. Paralympians. The four-day selection camp consisted of intense practices and a variety of testing drills at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center. The 10 U.S. Paralympians have played together in a variety of combinations starting with the 2004 Athens Paralympics through the 2012 London Paralympic Games. 

The final selection of 12 athletes that will represent the United States at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games will occur in June, after several more evaluation camps and friendly international competitions. The Rio Paralympics are scheduled for Sept. 7-18. 

Mike Paye of Macomb, Mich., and Steve Serio of Westbury, N.Y., the two captains of the gold-medal winning 2015 Parapan Am Games Team, lead the roster of 16 athletes and both hope to make their third Paralympic Games. They played together on the 2006 and 2010 World Championship teams, and were together again at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics where the U.S. finished fourth. Paye was a member of the 2004 Athens Paralympic Team, and Serio was a contributor to the bronze-medal 2012 U.S. London Paralympics team.

Looking for a return fourth trip to the Paralympics is a pair of athletes, Jeremy Lade of Milton, Wis., and Matt Scott of Southfield, Mich., who have both played in consecutive Paralympics from 2004-2012. Lade has also played on three World Championships (2002, 2006, 2010), while Scott has been a part of the last three World Championships. 

2012 U.S. Paralympians Josh Turek of Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Will Waller of Hudson, Ohio, are trying to make their third Paralympic Games. Turek, a member of the 2014 U.S. World Championship squad that won a silver medal, first played on the big stage in 2004, while Waller, a three-time world championship player, got his first taste of the Paralympics in 2000. 

Ian Lynch of Bellevue, Ky., Nate Hinze of Oshkosh, Wis., and Trevon Jenifer of Edinboro, Pa., are attempting to make their second Paralympic squad after winning bronze at the 2012 London Paralympics. Also joining in the journey for a second Paralympics is Matt Lesperance of Sun Prairie, Wis., who was a member of the 2010 World Championships and the 2008 Paralympics. 

In quest of their first U.S. Paralympic Team are five standouts who helped the U.S. to the gold medal at the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto: Jared Arambula of Valparaiso, Ind.; Brian Bell of Forest Park, Ill.; John Gilbert of Salisbury, Mo.; Aaron Gouge of Grand Prairie, Texas; and Jake Williams of Milwaukee, Wis. 

Jorge Sanchez of Dublin, Calif., is the newest addition to the pool of U.S. Paralympic hopefuls and has played for the University of Texas at Arlington. He was also a member of the championship team at the 2013 America's Zone Qualifier for the 2014 World Championships. 

The cumulative participation at major events of the 16 athletes proves to be rich with veteran talent and a welcomed addition of younger elite athletes. By the numbers, this group has 18 Paralympic Games and 23 World Championships combined. The roster returns eight from the 2014 World Championships and 10 from the 2015 Parapan Am Games. 

"It has been a pleasure to work with the high quality of athletes that attended this selection camp," said U.S. Men's Head Coach Ron Lykins of Columbia, Mo. "I'm thoroughly impressed with their continued improvement each day, and that is all we can ask for. We are pleased with the 16 athletes selected and think there is a nice balance between veterans and newcomers. Our focus is now turned towards preparing our players to compete in Rio." 

The U.S. Men's team qualified for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games by winning the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto, Canada, earlier this year. The U.S. men dominated the competition by outscoring their six opponents by 36 points per game and defeated Canada en route to the gold medal. 

In addition to Lykins, Robert Taylor of Chicago, Ill., and John Sikora of Pittsburgh, Pa., will serve as assistant coaches at the 2016 Paralympic Games. This coaching squad has been together since 2005, which included the U.S. women's 2008 gold-medal performance at the Paralympics, the silver medal at the 2014 Men's World Championships and the reigning Parapan Am Games champions. Scott Meyer of Columbia, Mo., will serve as the team leader. 

The U.S. Men's team brought home a bronze medal from the 2012 London Paralympics and looks to improve in Rio de Janeiro. The men's team finished 7th in 2008 and fourth in 2004, following bronze-medal performances in 2000 and 1996. The last time that the U.S. men's team last won a gold medal was at the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, South Korea. 

Team USA Roster

Name  Residence Hometown 
 
 Jared Arambula Valpariso, Ind. Valpariso, Ind.    
Brian Bell Forest Park, Ill. Birmingham, Ala.    
John Gilbert Salisbury, Mo. Fairfax, Mo.    
Aaron Gouge Grand Prairie, Texas Wake Forest, N.C.    
Nate Hinze Oshkosh, Wis. Cedar Grove, Wis.    
Trevon Jenifer Edinboro, Pa. Huntington, Md.    
Jeremy Lade Milton, Wis. Oconto, Wis.    
Matt Lesperance Sun Prairie, Wis. Coleman, Wis.    
Ian Lynch Bellvue, Ky. Brooklyn Park, Minn.    
Micahel Paye Macob, Mich. Warren, Mich.    
Jorge Sanchez Dublin, Calif. Dublin, Calif.    
Matt Scott Southfield, Mich. Detroit, Mich.    
Steve Serio Westbury, N.Y. Westbury, N.Y.    
Joshua Turek Council Bluffs, Iowa Council Bluffs, Iowa    
Will Waller Hudson, Ohio Chicago, Ill.    
Jake Williams Milwaukee, Wis. Milwaukee, Wis.    

Selection Staff

Head Coach: Ron Lykins, Columbia, Mo.
Assistant Coaches: Robert Taylor, Chicago, Ill.; John Sikora, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Team Leader: Scott Meyer, Columbia, Mo.
Athletic Trainer: Mary Vacala, Savannah, Ga.
Strength Coach: Michael Cohen, Savannah, Ga.