Local News


Autistic basketball player scores first points

Posted at 2:50 PM, Jan 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-09 17:50:24-05
An autistic basketball player is getting praise after scoring the first points of his high school basketball career.
Video of his performance is spreading across the internet.
As he has been doing for the past four years, Ron Chan returned to practice at Desert Oasis High School Friday and started draining free throws, and firing up his team.
This was just hours after the biggest game of the high school senior's life.
Chan scored four points in the final minute of the game.
It was autistic teen’s second time on the court in game action and the first time he scored.
He wasn't content to settle for just one basket and decided to go for one more at the buzzer.
He nailed that one too.
Chan is no stranger to the Desert Oasis Diamondbacks.
He's been on the sideline and at practices with the team for four years.
"He is the heart and soul of our team. He leads our breaks. He leads a lot of our prayers," Andrue Aguilera said.
With a big lead over Bonanza High School, coach Ryan Fretz pulled team captain Drevin Cannon from the court and inserted Chan into the game.
"I told him who I was guarding, I shook him up and just watched him do his thing," Cannon said.
That is just what Chan did, hitting a wide open shot and heading down the court to play defense.
When his team rebounded, Chan headed back the other way.
Fretz yelled to his players not to shoot, because they already had a 20 point lead.
But the man with the ball, Kaelin Craine, said he couldn’t resist giving his friend another shot.
"Coach said pull it out, pull it out. I was like, nah.  Let me pass it to Ron," Craine said.  "Passed it to Ron and he was like I'm going to score again. Went, and scored again. It was just a really happy moment."
That moment involved the entire team rushing towards Chan as he raised his arms victorious.
"It is like a dream come true for him and us," Cannon said.
Coach Fretz couldn’t stay mad at his players, but also thanked the Bonanza High basketball team and head coach Dan Savage, who recognized the special moment.
"As cool as it was to watch Ron live out his dream. It is, I just have as much respect for Bonanza and their boy's basketball players for what they have done," Fretz said.
The players and coach Fretz say watching Chan succeed was as much fun for them as it was a reward to the senior for running drills alongside them for the past four years.
"Coach never really asks him to do anything, he just does it," Aguilera said.
"He’s running sprints with everybody; he is doing all the drills with everybody," Fretz said.
There are still eight games left on the regular schedule, so Chan will continue practice alongside his teammates in hopes of getting another chance to improve his stats.
He has one goal in mind if that happens.
"So close to making a dunk," Chan said.
Even if he doesn’t get into another game this season, Chan will get a four year varsity letter from the school for his contribution to the team.
His teammates and coach are aiming higher when it comes to a reward.
They’ve started sharing the video of his big game on social media with the hash tag #GetKOBE4RON in hopes that his favorite NBA player, Kobe Bryant, will meet with the high school senior.