Connor Thompson is the talk of the town in Acworth after making the most of a special opportunity. Connor is the team manager of Allatoona Buccaneers basketball team and has a form of autism. He suited up Tuesday for Senior Night and knocked down a three-point shot as the clock winded down.
High 5 Sports first reported on this story on Tuesday, but it remains a hot topic. Connor sent the crowd into a frenzy when he drained the magical three pointer. Some folks are calling it "The shot heard ‘round Acworth."
Until the shot, Connor was the team manager
and unknown to most, although he knows his job is just about important as
"My role is, you know, like the standard fill water bottles, towels and stuff. But my main role is to pump the team up, help motivate them and help them bond as a family," Connor said.
the games, he got us hyped and he would keep telling us some things that we
should do before the game and he was just like a brother to us," said
Buccaneers point guard Mario Braggs.
On most days after Connor's managerial duties are complete, you can find him working on the shot. Teammates stick around to feed him the ball. Little did any of them know that Connor would get his one shot Tuesday night. Even more important to him, he would get to wear the Buccaneer jersey.
"I saw it in his eyes, how he was just enjoying the moment and it was awesome," said Markus Hood, the team's coach. "When he let it go, I was watching the ball, and when it was at its peak, I said to myself, ‘That's got a chance. That's got a chance.' And it was so perfect, it didn't even hardly hit the net. "
And with it came instant stardom.
"I hit a three, so I felt pretty good and I thought it was pretty cool,
my last game. But I didn't know people thought it would be this
awesome…I don't mind it but I don't like get all the attention, like OK
guys, cool and all, but I mean…hopefully it will die down soon," Connor said.
It was hard to tell who the moment meant more to: Connor, the crowd, or the players and coaches.
"We were just waiting for the timer to go off so we could jump on him," said Braggs.
For his part, Connor said he was more concerned that his teammates would forget to get back on defense.
"I was yelling at the guys to get on defense because I didn't want to let the other guys score," Connor said.
The joyous crowd rushed Connor at midcourt.
"I was getting ready to shake hands with the other coach and I looked up and I said, ‘Well, I hope he's okay, so I turned and I kind of ran over to the pile just to make sure that he was OK. I didn't want them to hurt him," said Hood.
"I don't mind court storms, but when there's a dog pile, no sir," Connor said. "It feels good, in a way, that you, like, made a good shot, or made the game-winning goal. But as soon as, like, after five seconds, get off because you can't breathe under there….All I wanted to do was get home and eat and go to sleep."
After he crawled out of the pile, Connor had one last to do:
parade the Allatoona flag around the gym one last time.
"Happy to be a part of Allatoona and proud to be a Buccaneer," Connor said.
Coach Hood said Connor is the most passionate young man he's ever met; he loves his teammates and he loves his school.