UPDATE: Special-needs basketball player drains inspirational buzzer-beater

UPDATE: Special-needs basketball player drains inspirational buzzer-beater

CORNWALL, Ontario – David Williams hasn’t been asked to make many shots for the CCVS Golden Raiders – but the one he sunk Monday to beat the buzzer will go down in history at the school.

David, a 16-year-old Grade 10 student, was diagnosed with autism at a very young age. For years his vocabulary was extremely limited and he grappled with the challenges of his diagnosis.

So when he went out for the basketball team, the senior squad no less, his parents were understandably curious about how things would unfold.

All those concerns melted away Monday when David was put into the game with barely a minute remaining on the clock and his team behind by 20 points. He scrambled up the court and was defending in front of his own hoop when opposition player Amede Fontaine selflessly offered him the ball.

David chugged down the court, passing the ball off to a teammate, before trying a shot at the basket. His first shot never came close, but teammates quickly got him the ball and he drained a buzzer-beater that nearly brought down the house.

His father Brentt Williams was ecstatic.

“We call him our miracle child,” Williams said in an interview. “We want to encourage David, but we know people can be cruel. I almost said if David makes the team I’ll eat my hat. I’m glad I didn’t.

“When we found out (coach Troy St. Germain) put him on the team I was delighted.”

David was just as thrilled.

“It was awesome,” he gushed at a practice the day after the now famous basket. “I was trying to take (another player) off the court because he was tired. So I said coach ‘I want to go on.’ Right near the buzzer I scored those two points.”

A video Williams shot of the game went viral on social media, garnering thousands of views.

“I just cried as I was doing that video,” he said. “Troy had let him know he would play when they were far ahead or way behind.

“You wonder how it’s going to develop. When he missed the first time, they gave it right back to him.”

His teammates refer to David as “Lebron James”, said Williams, referring to the popular NBA star known for his enthusiastic nature. “He’s a real team player. He sits next to the coach and wants to talk.”

No kidding, said coach St. Germain.

“It was rewarding to see, because he works hard in practice and he’s here every day,” said St. Germain. “He’s a special kid and it’s nice to see. Sports isn’t all about winning. It’s nice to bring some humanity to it.”

His teammates have high praise for him too.

“I’d just like to thank you so much for letting your son play on our team,” Brandon Lefebvre said in a message to Williams, that was shared with this newspaper. “Words can’t begin to describe how big of an impact he (has) on this team. David has such a big heart…always the guy whom works 100 per cent at practice.”

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