GCU Wheelchair Team Set to Take Its Best Shot
By Doug Carroll
Dr. James Beggs is looking for a few good roll players.
The kind who can really wheel and deal. Ones who won’t just sit there and take it.
The esteemed College of Arts and Sciences professor will be prowling the sideline, coaching a team from Banner Health and GCU against the Banner Phoenix Wheelchair Suns during a scrimmage at halftime of Tuesday night’s men’s basketball game at GCU Arena.
“Although there is no ‘i’ in ‘team,’ it has occurred to me that there are three ‘i’s’ in ‘annihilation,’” says Beggs, who hopes his squad can avoid that fate.
“We need to leave it all on the court. This is our house. It’s win or go home. Wait a minute, everyone will go home anyway. Sorry.”
The team, which has adopted the name Thunder Rolls, was assembled by general manager Jose Moreno, who says he isn’t planning to quit his day job as GCU’s community outreach manager.
The roster includes Dean of Students Pastor Tim Griffin, Dean Mark Wooden of the College of Arts and Sciences, Men’s Soccer Head Coach Petar Draksin, Student Activities Coordinator Sarah Thatcher and student-body president Anthony Mann.
“I’m concerned about Drak,” Beggs says of Draksin. “As a soccer coach, he hasn’t touched a ball with his hands in years. This could be a problem.
“I’ll be looking for the right pieces out there, people who can fill it up, dish it off, give us good minutes, make some stops and crash the boards. I have no idea what I just said.”
The GCU representatives will be joined by Drs. Frank Joseph Fara and Michael Bryan of Banner Northwest Valley and Banner staffers Scott Leckey and Brian Shelley. Shelley works in respiratory therapy, which could come in handy for the team.
The Wheelchair Suns have been around for more than 20 years and compete in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. They play more than two dozen games a year and make at least that many exhibition appearances.
Two words: They’re good.
“I’ve told our players that their chairs have four wheels, just as ours do,” Beggs says. “We’ve got to play ’em one at a time. Even if we’re only playing one.”