A special needs student from a Texas high school scored a basket in the final game of the season after a player from the opposing team gave up the ball.
Mitchell Marcus, a teenage student at Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, is the team manager for the Coronado Thunderbirds and an avid basketball fan. During the last game of the season on Feb. 12, Marcus, who has a "developmental disability," was given the chance to play, according to Fox local affiliate KFOX 14 in El Paso. With 90 seconds left, Coach Peter Morales put Marcus into the game.
"Mitchell's a great shot," his mother Amy told KFOX. "He took his first shot and missed. It hit the rim. You just hear the whole crowd sighing. It went out of bounds and Franklin got it. We all knew that he wasn't going to have his chance."
Then, Jonathon Montanez, a senior at Franklin High School and a member of the opposing team, down by 10 points, tossed Marcus the ball. "Since we were down and there was only 13 seconds left, might as well give Mitchell his last shot," Montanez told KFOX.
Marcus finally scored, and the crowd went wild.
A video of the game and Marcus' basket went viral after being uploaded online.
CBS News correspondent Steve Hartnan knew he wanted to tell Marcus's story. "It's America at its best," he told the El Paso Times. "When I grew up, kids like Mitchell got picked on, and to see how far we have come along is touching. I get emotional thinking about it."
NBC Southwest station KTSM first reported on Marcus' story the day after the game, calling it "the play of the year."
"I was so happy then," Marcus said about his shot. "It made my night."
Over the past three years, Marcus has helped the Thunderbirds earn a No. 1 ranking in the city of El Paso.
Coach Morales spoke with ESPN's El Paso radio station, KROD, about Marcus's amazing experience.
"This kid is very very loyal to your program," Morales told ESPN radio. "He's dedicated. We've had kids that come to this program and play with us and this kid has been more loyal than some of those kids to us because he wants to be here."
Take Stock in Children commends Mitchell, his coach, and the other team for their great examples of leadership and dedication. This story serves as an inspiration for our students to create a positive environment at home and at school that allows everyone to thrive.