VIDEOS: That time again when high school hoops wins our hearts

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

These are the welcomed anecdotes that happen every February and March, the stories that never get old, because it's basketball and humanity and community rolled into one. Like the videos of soldiers coming home to surprise their families, I could watch these videos on repeat.

The first has a twist of sorts that's oddly refreshing. It doesn't embody the critical element of these types of stories: a made basket. Or it doesn't until the very end. Watch above and get a chill. It called to mind this story, which ran just a few weeks ago.

Mitchell Marcus, a developmentally disabled teen, is the team manager for Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas. Per his coach's wishes, he was going to get into the game, no matter what. But the highlight comes, finally, when Franklin High's Jonathon Montanez makes sure to get Mitchell's attention. I can't write on this anymore -- you simply have to watch.

"He wasn't going to be able to score, but I was hoping that he was happy that he was just put in the game," Coronado coach Peter Morales told CBS News. "He's just an amazing person that our basketball team loves being around."

And now, the other side: a basket made to start a game, instead of at the end. It's a beautiful thing -- a dunk! Yep. This, via CBT, is pretty great.

Lawrence Academy, in Massachusetts, played against Buckingham Browne and Nichols over the weekend, a Senior Day affair that ended with a two-point margin. And that margin was provided with the points in the video above. From CBT:

Earlier in the week, Lawrence head coach Kevin Wiercinski approached senior manager Joey Mullaney, who suffers from a rare neurological disorder called Friedreich's ataxia, and asked about whether he wanted to suit up for the final game of the season, in the hopes of getting him on the floor.

“He was like ‘let me think about it,'” said Wiercinski. “Then he came in after the next class and he was like, ‘I'll do it under one condition.'”

“If I can dunk,” said Mullaney, who retold the conversation in a phone interview on Monday afternoon.

“He laughed it off,” added Mullaney. “I was like, ‘I'm not lying. I'm dunking it.' I've seen these kind of shots before where kids do layups or threes. I just really wanted to go out with a bang.”

And so he did. Mullaney's motor skills and speech have been affected by his disease, but at least he got a great memory and better story to share with us all because of the ambition and generosity of all involved. CBT notes he'll be attending Quinnipiac this upcoming fall. Here's to hoping that staff finds room on the bench for him.

Hard not to love this game and those who cherish it when we see stories like this, bittersweet as they may be in the bigger picture.


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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