Louisville hosted Bellarmine, a Division II program, on Sunday in an exhibition contest and the game allowed for a special opportunity to take place.
Suiting up as a starter for Bellarmine was 15-year-old Patrick McSweeney, a local high school student who has been battling life-threatening leukemia. ESPN‘s Dana O’Neil does a great job of telling McSweeney’s full story and it’s definitely worth your time.
But on Sunday, McSweeney scored the game’s opening basket against Louisville and made a special moment for himself. McSweeney was aligned with Bellarmine through a Boston-based nonprofit that matches chronically ill children with local college teams known as Team IMPACT.
Why would Patrick pick Bellarmine with college basketball royalty like Kentucky and Louisville in his own state? He didn’t want the other team’s fan base to dislike him.
From O’Neil’s story:
The coach was admittedly stunned, wondering why his tiny school was chosen instead of one of the local bluebloods in the Bluegrass State.
“Patrick told me, ‘Well, everybody likes your players. There’s no rivalry,” Davenport said with a laugh.
Probably a smart move to stay out of that rivalry, Patrick, but I think we’re all pulling for you here regardless of fan affiliation.
Here Patrick’s basket against Louisville on Sunday:
(H/T: Mike Rutherford)