Texas Tech recognizes outstanding show of sportsmanship

EL PASO, Texas -- At Coronado High School in El Paso, Texas, coach Peter Morales made no qualms about it. Back in 2013, he had a favorite on this team. Then team manager, Mitchell Marcus, has a developmental disability, but he surpassed everyone when it came to love of the game.

"He's just an amazing person that our basketball team loves being around," said Peter.

We have a great update on this story, but in case you missed the original, it all began five years ago, during the last game of the regular season, when coach Morales told his manager to suit up.  

Basketball team manager Mitchell Marcus was asked to suit up for the last game of the season.

Basketball team manager Mitchell Marcus was asked to suit up for the last game of the season.

CBS News

Just wearing a jersey was enough for Mitchell, but what he didn't know was that the coach planned to play him. So it was, with a minute and half left, Coach Morales put in his manager.

"I just started hearing, 'Mitchell, Mitchell,'" said Peter.

But here's where the fairy tale fell apart. Although his teammates did everything they could to get Mitchell a basket, each time they passed him the ball he either missed the shot, or like on their last possession, booted it out of bounds, turning the ball over to the other team with just seconds left.

"He wasn't going to be able to score, but I was hoping he was happy to just be put in the game," Peter said.

But he wouldn't imagine what could happen next, on the inbound. Franklin High school senior Jonathon Montanez yelled out Mitchell's name, then threw the ball right to him, becoming one of the most memorable giveaways of all time.

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Mitchell Marcus (l), Peter Morales (c), Jonathon Montanez (r)

CBS News

"I was raised to treat others like you want to be treated," said Jonathon. "I just thought Mitchell deserved his chance, deserved his opportunity."

After this story first aired, Jonathon and Mitchell became friends. They received many accolades -- the most significant went to Jonathon and it came from the chancellor of Texas Tech University, who saw our story and offered Jonathon a scholarship. 

It was almost certainly the only scholarship ever awarded for a turnover. Jonathon will graduate this summer with a degree in physical therapy, and our award for outstanding sportsmanship.

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.