Following a two-year hiatus, the 18th annual Sitrin Celebrity Classic Wheelchair Basketball Game returns to the court Thursday night.

The game will take place starting at 6:00 at Utica University’s Clark Athletic Center.

The Sitrin STARS will take on a celebrity team in a game of wheelchair basketball, with Syracuse University’s Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim and Olympic Bronze Medalist Erin Hamlin of Remsen headlining this year’s game.

“The addition of Jimmy Boeheim will certainly amplify the excitement for this year’s game” Marc DePerno, director of the STARS program, said. “To have both Boeheim brothers take on the Sitrin STARS is monumental.”

I've had the chance to take part in the game for about 10 years as a member of the Celebrity Team and it is an eye opening experience.

James Rondenell. WIBX
James Rondenell. WIBX

To just maneuver around the court in a wheelchair is a huge challenge.  Now add having to dribble, shoot and pass a basketball and it gets even more difficult.

One of the best parts of the game is seeing the Syracuse University basketball stars who participate every year struggle, sometimes to just shoot the ball from a seated position.

Playing in the game gives you a great appreciation of just how skilled the Sitrin STARS athletes are.

Here is the rest of this year's celebrity team:

  • Joseph Griffo, New York State Senator
  • Anthony Picente, Oneida County Executive
  • Robert Palmieri, Mayor of Utica
  • Marianne Buttenschon, Assemblywoman
  • Rob Maciol, Oneida County Sheriff
  • Symeon Tsoupelis, Jr, Symeon’s Greek Restaurant
  • Kristen Copeland, WKTV
  • Steve McMurray, WKTV
  • Kaylin, Lite 98.7
  • Bill Keeler, WIBX
  • Jim Rondenelli, WIBX
  • Pollywog, Big Frog 104
  • Carl, Big Frog 104

Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for students and children under five area free and they will be available at the door.

Proceeds from the event will fund the purchase of new sports wheelchairs and equipment and help offset training and competition expenses for STARS athletes.

By the way, heading into tomorrow night's game, it's the Sitrin STARS leading the series 17-to-0.

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