David Andrews plays for his freshman basketball team at Germantown High School outside of Memphis.
He wears the number 40. He leads the pregame chant. He swishes threes. And he has Down syndrome.
“Down syndrome people come in wide spectrum of disability,” said Andrews’ father, Charles. “Some are talkers and some are walkers … David is clearly a walker.”
When Andrews’ mother, Maureen, asked coach Wes Crump if her son could be part of the team that his brother was already on, the coach immediately agreed. But she never expected to see her son practice let alone play.
“Maureen wasn’t asking for anything other than David maybe getting a sweat suit, team shoes, and for him to be on the bench with the team,” Crump told ABC News.
What Crump and the team soon realized was that Andrews, 18, was going to have a bigger impact than anyone could have imagined. Andrews started joining practices and during the team’s fourth game he took to the court with the crowd chanting “We want David! We want David!”
“During the first offensive play, David ran down the left side of the floor into the deep corner. Our point guard pass David the ball, and without hesitating, he shot. Swish!” Crump wrote. “From that game on, it seemed our team had a new goal of getting so far ahead of the other team, that David would have an opportunity to play some minutes.”
Fortunately for Andrews, the Red Devil’s were more than pretty good. They lost only one game all season and he was able to play quite a bit. David even started a game. And the team won the county championship.
Crump said Andrews has put the game into perspective for him. One time after he received a technical foul going into halftime, Andrews’ antics during warm ups prior to the second half lifted his mood.
Andrews was hitting shot after shot from the top of the key and the crowd took notice.
“The CBHS parents were applauding his every basket,” Crump told ABC News. “David turned to the stands every time they applauded and flexed for them. As I watched that exchange, I realized just how little the game meant, and how much David means to me and to the people who get to be around him. It completely changed my attitude. I sat there and just smiled.”