When the University of Michigan Men’s basketball team takes the court in the Final Four, they play knowing they have a secret weapon.
You won’t see him playing on the court, but a 12-year-old teammate from Monroe plays a big part in their success.
7 Action News was there for Jude Stamper’s draft day signing as he joined the Michigan basketball team last year.
Jude says he is a loyal to Michigan for good reason. The University of Michigan has time and time again improved his life with expert surgeries performed at U of M’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hosital.
“That was a big part of my life and then my dad loves watching Michigan,” said Jude.
Jude has a condition called Arthrogryposis Multi-Congenital disorder with Escobar Syndrome. It makes his joints so stiff, it is hard to get around.
“I am unable to play sports because of my disability,” said Jude.
But the fact you can’t play a sport, doesn’t stop you from contributing to a team. An organization called TEAM Impact connects kids with chronic illnesses with college teams.
“It is a really awesome organization and I was lucky to be paired with Michigan basketball,” said Jude.
But it is possible the team is lucky to be paired with him. Jude’s mom says he inspires her with how he focuses on being positive, no matter the obstacle.
“I often say what you focus on, you find and focusing on positive things, even when you think it can’t happen, it really can,” said Courtney
And since Jude has joined the team, there is no denying the fact the team has been winning. Jude was in Los Angeles as the University of Michigan made it in the Final Four.
“It was really exciting because I have never done anything like that before,” said Jude.
Some have compared Jude to Loyola University Chicago’s Sister Jean Delores-Smith. Jude says it is a compliment.
“She seems really nice, so I am excited to meet her,” he said.
As for what will happen on Saturday when Michigan takes on Loyola, Jude has his own prediction. He says Michigan is going to win 65 to 60. We will be watching.