THOMSON (WFXG) - THOMSON- The video has gone viral---A Thomson-McDuffie Middle Schooler is getting his moment in the spotlight.
The crowd for both home and away went wild. But that just begins to scratch the surface of what Demetrias Hester means to the Thomson-McDuffie Bulldogs.
“My phone kept going off, and I didn’t know what was going on,” said Kendra Hill, Demetrias’ mother, “and I got a call from my cousin, telling me Demetrias went viral. So, I checked my phone and I was so happy. It was really special. I was just so proud of him. He really just loves basketball. Ever since he was little, he’s always had a ball in his hand.”
When he’s off the court, Demetrias might not say much, but he loves to dance. But basketball is still his first love.
“His old coach said maybe he was going to want to try out for middle school one day, and then the day came out and he wanted to try out,” said Shamar Ivey, Demetrias’ father.
When tryouts arrived, his teammates and coach will tell you Demetrias earned his way onto the squad.
“Nothing was special for him,” said Clifton Belton, the head coach for Thomson-McDuffie. “Everything every other kid did he did. Even when he was tired, he continued to push and go hard, and I think that’s what drew my attention to him.”
Every day in practice, you’ll see Demetrias, who has Williams Syndrome, giving that same effort and intensity. It’s a big reason why coach Belton didn’t hesitate to put him in the game against Warrenton.
“I had a situation that day where a kid couldn’t dress and I had a jersey and some shorts, and I gave them to Demetrias,” said Belton. “And I told him, if your time comes, get in and do what we’ve been practicing.”
Early in the second half, Demetrias got his moment.
“The crowd the way they reacted, the kids the way they reacted it was just amazing,” said Barry Joiner, the principal for Thomson-McDuffie Middle School. “And it wasn’t just our crowd, but the crowd for the opposing team as well.”
“Amazing. You can’t forget it,” said Jordan Lange, an eighth grader and teammate. “When I seen the crowd, I wanted to cry.”
But that moment wouldn’t have been possible without the kind of work you’re seeing here.
“A lot of people see Demetrias scoring the bucket, but a lot of people didn’t pay a lot of attention to the other four kids playing amazing defense to get him the ball back,” said Belton.
But these moments aren’t over yet.
“It’s a great, great feeling to have someone like him,” said Jahkias Jones, an eighth grader and teammate. “You know we love him.”
“The feeling that I got out of that, I don’t think I’ll ever get it again because it was authentic,” said Belton. Demetrias has gotten into several games since, including one night where he scored 10 points.
“Coach Jackson texted me and he was like, ‘Hey Coach, Demetrias scored 10 points,’ and I had to call him. I was like, ‘Demetrias Hester'? And he was like, ‘Yeah’. He’s just an amazing kid.”
Warrenton is the hometown of Demetrias’ mother. So, Demetrias and his family said they already felt they had a special connection with the crowd when he checked into the game.
To learn more about Williams Syndrome, please click here.