IBCA to Include Illinois Wheelchair Basketball
• Did you know that the University of Illinois was an innovator in the development of wheelchair basketball just after the end of World War II?
• Did you know that the IHSA sponsors the only high school aged state tournament in the nation?
The University of Illinois and the IHSA have been innovators in the formation of wheelchair basketball teams to provide people with disabilities the opportunity to play the game they love.
In 1948, Dr. Tim Nugent of the University of Illinois founded the “Gizz Kids” and in 1972 expanded wheelchair basketball by forming the women’s team nicknamed the “Ms. Kids” He also helped organize the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. (see www.nwba.org) Over 200 teams are affiliated with the NWBA and that includes the six high school aged teams that compete in the Illinois State Finals on March 8-9 during the Boys Class 1-2A State Tournament in Peoria.
Check out the IHSA Wheelchair link at: www.ihsa.org/SportsActivities/WheelchairBasketball.aspx. The IBCA will honor those wheelchair coaches as Coach of the Year selections as well as potential Hall of Fame inductees. This year, at our annual HOF Banquet at Redbird Arena, the IBCA will honor Dr. Nugent (1923-2015) as a Friend of Basketball, not only as coach of the Gizz Kids but for all that he accomplished on behalf of all people with physical disabilities.
The IBCA will also include the University of Illinois Wheelchair Basketball Teams as one of our Organizations of the Year. Both University of Illinois Men and Women teams will host the Collegiate National Tournament at the State Farm Center on March 14-16. A presentation will be made at that time as well as at the HOF Banquet on May 4. The Fighting Illini will also host a tournament Feb. 8 – 9.
We also have selected former Fighting Illini wheelchair basketball standout Will Waller as our Derril Kipp Courage Award Recipient for 2019. Will sustained a gang-related gunshot wound when he was 18, which left him without the use of his legs. Despite physical and emotional setbacks, Will has developed into a leader in the world of business and as one of the world’s premier wheelchair basketball players. He has played for the University of Illinois, two Gold Medal World Championship teams, and eventually for the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers.
The Illinois Basketball Coaches Association welcomes its wheelchair basketball participants, coaches, and supporters into our basketball community!