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Scholar & Athlete

MU senior excels on the court and in the classroom

Published on April 25, 2017
Story and photo by Sarah Sabatke

James Bohnett

James Bohnett, senior, Political Sciene and Economics major from San Jose, California.

James Bohnett can often be seen racing around campus from various classes to the MizzouRec Complex. As a member of Mizzou’s wheelchair basketball team, he balances early morning practices with a heavy academic load.

“You try to plan around sleep,” he says. “You try your best.”

Players are allowed five years of collegiate eligibility. Bohnett plans to play out his eligibility at MU and complete bachelors degrees in political science and economics (and maybe statistics, if he has time).

A California native, Bohnett began playing adaptive sports at the age of 7. He enjoyed wheelchair basketball the most and soon joined a junior team in Berkeley, California.

“I wasn’t really good at it, but they were more than happy to have me tag along and try to play the sport,” Bohnett says. “I haven’t stopped since.”

After attending high school basketball camps at MU, Bohnett eventually decided to make Missouri his home.

“I got attached to the players that were here and some of the teammates that moved over to here, and it just became the school for me,” he says.

While his studies and athletics keep him extremely busy, Bohnett says they have opened many doors. He was selected for the MU Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy scholars program during the summer of 2015 and worked in Washington, D.C., with California Senator Barbara Boxer. He currently volunteers with the Starlight Reading Program in Columbia, where MU student-athletes visit area elementary schools to read to and interact with the students.

“It’s partly an opportunity for us to be involved with the Missouri community, but it’s also an opportunity for us to introduce adaptive sports to young individuals,” Bohnett says, “and to also introduce them to disability in general in a better light.”

This story was orignally published in the division annual report, 2016 Student Affairs Highlights.

Published by the Division of Student Affairs, 211 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 | Phone: 573-882-6776 | Fax: 573-882-0158 | E-mail:

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Last updated: Aug. 7, 2017