The mood was joyous and celebratory as the Movin’ Mavs traveled back home to Arlington from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the site of the team’s final victory of the season. They defeated Alabama 66-51, clinching their ninth National Wheelchair Basketball Association championship.
“Once the final buzzer hit zero in the national championship game, tears of joy and excitement came right after,” says Alex “AJ” Hummer, a junior on the team. “We just all started hugging each other and yelling because we accomplished something greater than anything we could do by ourselves—because without one another, we would never be national champs.”
The team finished with a record of 8-0 in a 2020-21 season cut short by both the COVID-19 pandemic and winter storms and power outages. In a typical season, the team would play between 25 and 30 games.
UTA lost four starters from last year’s top-ranked squad and entered this season with an inexperienced starting lineup that included three freshmen and a sophomore. The team also included players from Israel and Canada.
“It’s been great seeing all of these differences come together in a team,” says longtime coach Doug Garner. “We had age differences, philosophical differences, and cultural differences. We had to mold together all these parts in just a few tournaments. These players were willing to put in the work.”