A team of 11 emerging elite US Wheelchair Basketball players will compete alongside Great Britain, Korea and hosts Japan in the 2015 Kitakyushu Champions Cups in Kitakyushu between 11-15 November. This competition will highlight athletes whose goal is to represent their country in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Collin Evans who was a participant of the 2015 NWBA Parapan Am Games Selection Camp, will lead this group of aspiring elite athletes. Thomas Duffy, a junior in high school and a member of the 2015 NWBA All-Academic Team, and three-time National Championships player at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Joshua Poulson will help the team on the hardwoods.
Also making their first international wheelchair basketball tournament trip are: Chris Bacon, John Boie, Derek Hoot, Ryan Juguan, Devin Lockett, James Mocer Jr., Rafael Rodriguez, and Cherronte Watts.
"This is a critical step in the development of this younger generation of athletes," said US head coach Matt Buchi. "Opportunities like these are rare and this could be a difference maker in one of these athletes becoming a Paralympian. The Kitakyushu Tournament will provide invaluable experience to help these athletes take their game to the next level and help groom them for possible future Paralympic success."
Team USA will start the Kitakyushu Cup with an exhibition game against Kanto on 12 November following the opening ceremonies. The US team will have consecutive games from 13-15 November against Great Britain, Japan and Korea. The gold-medal and bronze-medal games will be played on 15 November.
This tournament commemorates the 2002 Kitakyushu Gold Cup. Aside from its goal to nurture young talent, organizers hope to showcase Kitakyushu as a potential training camp location for participating countries at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.