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Burns & Gambo

Updated Jan 27, 2013 - 3:41 pm

Pinnacle basketball manager has his 'One Shining Moment'

Pinnacle's senior team manager Brandon Wechsler looks on during warmups before the Pioneers' game against O'Connor High School (Aaron Granillo/KTAR).

18-year-old Brandon Wechsler is the team manager for the Pinnacle boys basketball team.

Throughout the Pioneers' 2012-13 season, Wechsler has been by the players' side during practices, games and video sessions.

But the senior isn't like most team managers across the country. Wechsler is currently battling Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which inflicts 1 out of every 3,600 boys in the United States.

So while Wechsler provides head coach Charles Wilde and Co. a helping hand with his managerial responsibilities, it's his mere presence and infectious smile that provides the players with a great form of daily inspiration.

To honor Wechsler's remarkable contributions to the program, Pinnacle allowed their senior manager a chance to get in the game during Friday night's contest against Sandra Day O'Connor High School.

"It's going to show that kids in wheelchairs can do anything else like other kids can do," Wechsler said before the game. "It's going to show people what courage is and what it means to be part of a team."

Wechsler was named a starter and played the first five seconds of the contest, giving him just enough time to set a key pick for teammate Drew Bender.

While his playing time was limited, the entire gym erupted when he reached the floor. In addition, the student section paid tribute to Wechsler by painting his number 42 on their faces.

"It was awesome, best moment of my life," said Wechsler. "It was magic."

Wechsler's father Len was also in the stands and held back tears as he watched his son fulfill a lifelong dream.

"It was absolutely amazing, magical" said Len Wechsler. "I love this kid."

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