USA’s Head Coach, Ron Lykins, has named the 2019 Toyota USA men’s team to compete at the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games taking place between 23rd August to 1st September 2019.
The National Wheelchair Basketball Association announced its final roster for Lima 2019 at the end of May.
Commenting on his selection, Lykins said:
“We are happy with the team that we have selected. We have tried to find a team that’s pretty well rounded; a team that can play up-tempo, half-court, or full-court, one that’s strong defensively and can do a variety of things at the offensive end. So we were looking for a team that can do a little bit of everything and I think we have that.”
The team includes eight members of the gold medal winning team from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, and nine from the 2018 IWBF World Championship silver medal winning team. Ryan Neiswender was a late addition to the initial twelve selected, replacing Tyler Buysse on the roster, who has resigned from the team due to personal reasons.
USA’s co-captain Steve Serio said:
“Being selected to compete in Lima in 2019 is a huge honour, not just for me personally but for all of the other 11 athletes. We have very high expectations heading in to Lima 2019 and we are just excited to get down there and experience everything Lima has to offer.”
Lima 2019 is the zonal qualification tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, and the USA team must finish in the top 3 to earn a spot in next year’s Paralympics, but Lykins has higher expectations for his team than just qualification:
“Obviously we want to qualify for Tokyo, but our number one goal is to win gold and to win all our games. If we win all our games, we will meet all our goals, so for us to go undefeated at this tournament is what we are looking to do.”
USA will match up against Puerto Rico, Brazil and hosts Peru in Pool B, and with four strong teams in Pool A, the qualification spots are by no means easy to secure. Lykins said:
“I think there will be quite a few teams who will be able to compete for the qualifying spots for Tokyo 2020. I look at Brazil at being a very strong team; Argentina, Canada, and I also think Colombia could shock a few people. Mexico defeated Canada a few years ago at the zone qualifier to go to World Championships so you can’t take them lightly.
In Pool A any one of those teams I think can qualify, and in our pool I think it will be us and Brazil, but if we don’t play well against the other teams that can lead to problems, so I think any one of six teams have a chance to qualify.”
Serio echoed his coach’s thoughts:
“Our Zone qualifier is filled with a lot of talented teams. First and foremost, the Canadians bringing back Pat Anderson, who is a great player, makes them a very tough opponent. Brazil always plays us well at these zone qualifiers, alongwith Argentina. Argentina had a great World Championships and we know that they will take that momentum into the zone qualifiers. We are going to come with a very competitive mentality and hopefully get the job done and bring home a gold medal.”
USA Men’s Roster for Lima 2019
|Player||Age at start of championships||Classification|
Full competition schedule for the wheelchair basketball at Lima 2019 can be found here.