C.J. Oliver is all in.

The 12-year-old said he plans to participate in the Hoops Madness Tournament on Feb. 24 in the Franklin Park Indoor Adventure Center, 1755 E. Broad St. in east Columbus.

Up to 30 wheelchair-basketball hoopsters will take the court from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 20th annual tournament at the center, a facility owned by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.

Registration is free and open to anyone who uses a wheelchair for mobility. Registrations close at 9 a.m. the morning of the tournament.

Proceeds from the event, raised through sponsorships and a bake sale, benefit Paralympic Sports Club Columbus and Friends of Therapeutic Recreation.

Luke Edelbrock, recreation supervisor for Columbus' Therapeutic Recreation/Adapted Sports Program at the East Broad facility, said the players will be divided into five teams, depending on the number of participants.

All will play at least three games, and trophies will be awarded in several categories. A three-point-shooting competition and a slam-dunk contest are planned.

Per wheelchair-basketball rules, the goal is 4 feet above the floor and the ball is much smaller than regulation size.

Participants also are assigned to play at one of three levels based on skill.

The rules are designed to make things competitive -- but not overly restrictive -- and safe, because people of all skill levels compete on the same court, Edelbrock said.

"Just like able-bodied basketball, you have to keep your spacing," he said.

"Sometimes you fall," C.J. said. "That hurts."

The therapeutic recreation program was started in 1995, and activities were held at various locations until finding a permanent home at the former AmeriFlora site in 2001, Edelbrock said.

It hosts a variety of activities, including wheelchair bocce, fencing and rugby, he said.

Basketball practice is held every Tuesday and Thursday for anyone who shows up, Edelbrock said.

"I think it's great," he said. "All these guys (and women) know each other. It's a social gathering, No. 1. But they compete hard and have fun."

For instance, dunking isn't discouraged, but it can't be at somebody's expense, Edelbrock said.

"It depends how it's done," he said.

Edelbrock also applauds the efforts of assistants who help with the various classes.

"Our programs wouldn't exist if we didn't have volunteers," he said.

Jimmy Miranda, 24, who uses an electric wheelchair, said he enjoys the camaraderie.

"I like playing basketball because I'm always around people," he said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary