Calvin Brock shoots a 3-pointer during the Ultimate Basketball Challenge.
April 18, 2008
Champaign, Ill. -
Nearly 1,100 fans came out to Huff Hall on Wednesday evening for the third annual Ultimate Basketball Challenge, featuring the Illini men's and women's varsity basketball teams participating alongside the University of Illinois' national champion men's and women's wheelchair basketball teams. The event served as a fundraiser for both the wheelchair teams and Coaches vs. Cancer.
The rosters were split into two teams - Blue and White - with each team made up of players from all four squads. Also participating were Illini men's head coach Bruce Weber and his staff, women's head coach Jolette Law and her staff, Mike Frogley, head coach of the men's wheelchair team and Patty Cisneros, head coach of the women's wheelchair team.
The game was split into two, 20-minute halves and was played under wheelchair basketball rules. It had the same structure as a regular Illini home game, complete with cheerleaders, pep band and on-court promotions during timeouts.
The Blue squad defeated the White (see rosters below) by the score of 51-44. Complete lineup changes occurred every four minutes throughout the game. The entire first half and the last 12 minutes of the game featured mixed lineups from all four teams. The first four minutes of the second half included only players from Weber and Law's teams, while the second four minutes consisted of only players from the wheelchair teams.
There also were two special events at halftime. UI President B. Joseph White, Chancellor Richard Herman and football coach Ron Zook joined Weber and Law in a wheelchair free throw shooting contest. Law won the title, defeating White in the finals. Alex Grunstein from the men's wheelchair team won a 3-point shootout, defeating Stephanie Chelleen in the finals.
Patty Cisneros, women's wheelchair coach and coordinator of the Ultimate Basketball Challenge - "What a great night. There was good energy in the gym right from the start. I think we accomplished our goal, which was to provide a family and student oriented event. I hope the fans that attended were able to get a better appreciation for our wheelchair teams. Our athletes make it look easy out there, but it takes time and dedication to refine those skills. They are elite-level competitors who train and practice hours every day throughout the year."
Junior Chester Frazier - "This event is always a good time. I've gone to watch our wheelchair teams play a few games and I'm amazed at their ability, how fast they move and manipulate their chairs. Everything else is just like our game, the shooting, ball handling, passing, defense, all of it. At the end of the day it's all basketball and we had a blast."
Sophomore Jenna Smith - "This is a great way to wrap up the season and most importantly the money raised went to two great causes: fighting cancer and supporting our wheelchair programs. To get the four teams together on the same court is so much fun, there's a lot of camaraderie and school spirit with all of us out there. I was talking to some of the players from the wheelchair teams about how much they train, how intense it is and just how hard they work and I have all the respect in the world for them."
Freshman Brian Bell, men's wheelchair team - "I've heard a lot about this event so I was really looking forward to it. This format was a lot of fun and it was exciting playing in front of so many people. We don't usually have a crowd like this at our games so I hope we were able entertain the fans and they'll come back again."
Blue Roster White Roster Chester Frazier Jeff Jordan Mike Davis Alex Legion Calvin Brock Demetri McCamey Bill Cole Richard Semrau Brian Randle Mike Tisdale Erin McCarthy Audrey Tabon Lydia McCully Lacey Simpson Jenna Smith Chelsea Gordon Rebecca Harris Stephanie Chelleen Drew Dokos Matt Buchi Joey Gugliotta Tom Smurr Alex Grunstein Kohei Jimmura Ryan Chalmers Steve Serio Stevie Kouri Lars Spenger Hiro Kozai Jaime Baltazar Brian Bell Aaron Pike Dana Fink Kelsey Lefevour Amanda McGrory Edina Mueller Sarah Castle Shawna Culp Shelley Chaplin Megan Nyquist Casandra Rightmyer Bridie Kean Arley McNeney Carlee Hoffman Kathleen O'Kelly-Kennedy