RICHFIELD, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s senior night at Holy Angels, but there is something different in the pre-game warm ups. A new starter will be unveiled – Nick Anderson. And it’s significant because Nick has been the team manager for four years. He also has cerebral palsy.
Larry McKenzie is the head basketball coach at AHA.
“I made Nick a promise. I said, ‘Nick, if you stick around for four years, I promise you you’ll play the game.’ And I know, like most kids, he probably thought I was just another guy,” McKenzie said.
The AHA Stars have a home-court advantage against Northfield. Nick’s single mother, Shelly, is there – like she has always been.
“Me and her versus the odds,” Anderson said.
Shelly delights as her son is introduced as a starter.
“I’m just so proud, I’m so proud of him,” she said. “And I see how his dreams are coming true.”
But on this night, it would get even better. Off the opening tip they found Nick, who delivered a lay-up.
“I was so happy and so relieved to finally score,” he said. “I mean, when I was younger I was told I would never play the game of basketball.”
He returned to the bench, but his moment in the sun was not over. The Stars got a big lead and in the final minutes, and he was reinserted for one more shot – a three pointer.
“If there’s anything about perseverance – never giving up, never giving out, never giving in – that’s Nick Anderson,” said McKenzie.
And when it was over, senior star Sam Keis gave Nick the affirmation that he is, and always will be, one of the team.
“Sam Keis just said, ‘You know what? We got you, Nick,’” he said. “And that just made me feel great.”
Next year Nick will attend the University of St. Thomas and serve as the team manager. His next basketball dream is to coach one day.