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Nine-year-old with brain tumor has come to inspire Saint Louis

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Saint Louis is 12-4 this year and has been surrounded by reminders of the inportant things outside of basketball. (US Presswire)

The Billikens are chock-full of inspiring stories this season, only it's sad in the way that's come to be.

On Friday, we shared with you how Saint Louis reeled off nine wins in a row after the death of Rick Majerus. The streak ended at Temple on Saturday, but the backstory on what the team's quietly done to honor Majerus is still worth reading.

And as it turns out, SLU has been finding inspiration in other ways and from other people. And there's another streak at play. Saint Louis has yet to lose a game Joshua Brown attends. Brown is a 9-year-old who has fought brain tumors since he first underwent treatment when he was 2 months old. Brown recently became a huge Billikens fan, and once the team found out, he became a fixture of this program.

On Monday, Tom Timmerman of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote a great story on how Brown has become close with the players and coaches, how his new-found love for basketball is even having more impact on the team than the team is having on him.

Before St. Louis U. basketball games, Joshua Brown sits down in a folding chair courtside, and Billikens players, coaches and staff going through pregame preparations stop what they're doing and come over to say hi and talk.

During games, he sits two rows in back of the SLU bench, prime seating to be sure, cheering on the Billikens.

After the game, he stops by the SLU locker room, chatting with players.

He sits in on practices. The players have pictures of him on their phones. Sometimes they go to visit him.

Brown is battling glioblastoma multiforme, and Timmerman's story states the harrowing: that less than 15 percent of those who develop the disease in their heads before the age of 50 live longer than five years after diagnosis. The silver lining is the early awareness and thorough testing Brown has undergone could significantly increase his chances. Still, a scary situation, one that's already led to Brown losing all his curly red hair.

The story also details how Brown got connected to Saint Louis in the first place. Pretty inspiring. Do give it a read.

When you consider SLU'S season, you realize how unique it must be for that team, what a ride this season has been. These players were expecting to be coached by Majerus and set sights on reaching the second weekend of the NCAAs. But now Majerus is gone, and the group is fighting in what could end up being the best Atlantic 10 race in years. There seem to be reminders everywhere of how much basketball can enhance life, even when life hangs in the balance.


For more college basketball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnCBB on Twitter, like us on Facebook and subscribe to the thrice-a-week podcast on iTunes. You can follow Matt Norlander on Twitter here: @MattNorlander.

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