Interview with Arinn Young: “I get to push myself against the best of the best in wheelchair basketball.”

Rhine River Rhinos Wiesbaden have recently announced the signing of Canadian powerhouse, Arinn Young. The former World Champion is set to make her European debut after establishing a worldwide name for herself during her five-year stint at the University of Alabama, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sport and Exercise Science. Rollt.’s Dylan Cummings sat down with her to find out how she’s feeling prior to making the next big step in her career.


Why did you choose to sign for Rhine River Rhinos Wiesbaden?

“I’ve always heard great things about the Rhinos program, they are very professional and have great people working for them. I was introduced to them a of couple years ago and I’ve always saw myself playing there, and luckily I am!”


How will the move to Wiesbaden help benefit you game prior to Tokyo?

“I think it will benefit me greatly, I get to push myself against the best of the best in wheelchair basketball. I will learn a ton of knowledge from the Rhinos and playing against our opponents, I’m hoping to become mentally and physically stronger on court. I get to push myself against players that are stronger and faster than me. This makes me excited for the near future.”


How do you intend to fit into the team?

“I see myself as being a player that can fit into any role. I am very confident and open about my abilities and I hope this translates into the RBBL. It seems like the Rhinos are a big family so I am excited to get there and start playing.”


What new challenges do you think you will face playing in the RBBL?

“The obvious one is playing alongside and against men again. They have different styles of play that I am excited to adapt to. I think the style I play will mix well with my teammates. The league is a lot stronger than in college so that would be the biggest challenge but it’s one I am looking forward to.”


How do you think the European style of basketball will differ from the North American style you’ve played for many years?

“I would say it’s a small change. The obvious ones are that the court is college size but for the most part, basketball is basketball wherever you go.”



In the mixed club game, a female player adds 1.5 points to the team’s maximum allowance of points on court. Do you think this helps or hinders female players? If so, why?

“Having the 1.5 points allows women to be able to make it and play in the league. I do think it helps female players get in and get better pushing alongside men but me being a 3.0 there, I am still going to compare myself to and try to outwork 4.5 males.”


Babsi Groß, Catharina Weiß and Selina Rausch are three of your best friends, how have the German lessons been going?

“Well, they love a good laugh when I pronounce things wrong. It’s an interesting language and I hope I can get the basics down soon. I’m excited to take that step and have some good laughs with good friends along the way.”


How would you describe the legacy you left at Alabama?

“I played at Alabama for five years, and I hope what athletes and coaches took away from me playing there is how I stopped at nothing to be the best player I could be there. I just love working hard and I am always up for any challenge because it just makes you better on and off the court.”


How has the support you’ve received from your parents helped you in life and your career?

“My parents are awesome. I’m really lucky to have them support me from wherever I am in the world. They are my number one fans and I’m just extremely proud to be able to not only represent myself but my family and my home. I try my best to represent the ‘Young’s’ the best I can. I’m so thankful for them and the support I get from them.”


How would you describe your style of play?

“I play aggressively and do anything I can, not to be stopped. I’m kind of an all-round player, I can shoot from anywhere inside and outside the three. I love assisting my teammates and most importantly stop whoever is trying to come at me.”


Has anyone specifically influenced you to play the way you do?

“I’d say Janet Zeltinger (McLachlan), she was the main centre and shooter at the time I came into Team Canada. She took me under her wing and helped mould my game into what it is today. She always had my back and supported me when I played. She was just such a force out there and it made me want to be better than her one day.”


Janet Zeltinger (McLachlan) played in Wiesbaden towards the tail end of her career, has she given you any advice prior to you heading out to Germany?

“She really opened the door for me when it came to the RBBL, she is always there for me if I have any questions or concerns. In the last couple years, she believed I would mix and play well with the Rhinos, she spoke highly of their program so I knew I had to go.”


What piece of advice has stuck with you throughout your career?

“Shoot high, follow through and play hard.”


If you could do a training session with three other players from anywhere in the world, male or female to improve your skills, which players would you choose and why?

“This is such a tough question because I think there are so many legends in the game. Mariska Beijer; because I’d love to do post work with her. It would be cool to work with Gregg Warburton mostly to help with court awareness. Lastly, Jannik Blair because working a pick and roll game with him would be deadly.”


Finish this sentence. Arinn Young will help bring success to Wiesbaden because…

“She loves to work hard and hype her teammates up.”


Thanks for your time Arinn!


Rollt. would like to thank Arinn Young for the interview!


Arinn Young Profile:

Date of Birth: 10/07/1996 (aged 24)

Hometown: Legal, Alberta

Started playing: 2011

Canada senior debut: 2014 Women’s World Championships – Toronto, Canada

Classification: 4.5

Future Club: Rhine River Rhinos Wiesbaden, GER (starting September 2020)

Former Clubs:

_Edmonton Inferno, CAN (2011-19)

_University of Alabama, USA (2015-20)

Career Highlights:

 _2014 Women’s World Championships – Toronto, Canada – Gold (CAN)

_2015 U25 World Championships – Beijing, China – 4th (CAN)

_2015 Parapan American Games – Toronto, Canada – Silver (CAN)

_2016 Paralympic Games – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 5th (CAN)

_2017 NWBA Women’s Intercollegiate National Champions – Gold (Alabama)

_2017 Americas Cup – Cali, Colombia – Gold (CAN)

_2018 MVP at the CWBL National Championships (Edmonton Inferno)

_2018 World Championships – Hamburg, Germany – 5th (CAN)

_2019 Women’s MVP and NWBA Intercollegiate National Champions – Gold (Alabama)

_2019 Parapan American Games – Lima, Peru – Gold (CAN)

_2019 NSCA All-American Strength and Conditioning Athlete of the Year

_2019 Wheelchair Basketball Canada Female Athlete of the Year

_2020 NWBA Women’s Intercollegiate League Winners (Alabama)


Interview: Dylan Cummings | Photo: Steffie Wunderl

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