The most heartwarming moment of the high school basketball season may well have occurred on Feb. 12 in El Paso, Texas.
It was there that Mitchell Marcus, the developmentally-disabled team manager at Coronado High School, was the recipient of some good old-fashioned sportsmanship, according to CBSnews.com.
As team manager, Marcus was responsible for fetching water for the basketball team and chasing after loose balls. Before the team’s final regular season game, however, coach Peter Morales surprised Marcus by telling him to suit up.
With a minute-and-a-half remaining in the game and Coronado holding a 10-point lead over its opponent, Franklin High School, Morales called Marcus’ number (24) and put him into the game.
His teammates immediately began feeding Marcus the ball, trying to get him an easy scoring attempt. It wasn’t looking good for Marcus, though: He missed two shots and then turned the ball over with only seconds remaining in the game.
His coach hoped that despite not scoring, Marcus would be happy simply to have earned some playing time. One of the Franklin players wasn’t satisfied with that end result, though.
Instead, when inbounding the ball, Franklin senior Jonathon Montanez called out Marcus’ name and passed the ball right to him. With a teammate imploring him to shoot, Marcus took a few dribbles on his way to the hoop and knocked down his first career bucket. Coronado ended up winning by a score of 55-40.
“I was raised to treat others how you want to be treated,” Montanez told CBSnews.com. “I just thought Mitchell deserved his chance, deserved his opportunity.”
After the game, Morales admitted that no matter the score, he was planning on putting Marcus in the game at the end.
“You were prepared to lose that game?” a CBSnews.com interviewer asked the coach.
“For his moment? Yes,” Morales responded. “For his moment in time, yes.”
You can see it all unfold in the video below, via CBSnews.com:
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.