A small gesture from the Illinois coaching staff recently made a big impression on a local high school basketball player.
Cameron Reicheneker's father reached out to the Illini last week to see if his son, who is scheduled to begin chemotherapy this week, could meet the team. The coaching staff did better, allowing Reicheneker to listen in on Bruce Weber's pregame speech and chalk talk before Sunday's match against Wisconsin.
From GateHouse News Service:
Diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in December, the 16-year-old Reicheneker and his family planned to sit in the seats bought by his parents, Scott and Dianna. Those tickets were in row 20 in Section C.
After the Illini coaching staff learned of Reicheneker’s plans, the tickets were upgraded, and the family moved courtside. Reicheneker met briefly with the team, then spoke with Weber prior to the game.
"He told me that life has speed bumps, and we all have to get over them," Reicheneker said. "I can make it through this tough time."
Reicheneker, who came to the game wearing a Demetri McCamey jersey, left with some autographs and his spirits lifted.
The Illini ended up beating Wisconsin to stay undefeated in Big 10 play after a big performance from McCamey, who was named the U.S. Basketball Writers Association's national player of the week on Tuesday.
What goes around, comes around, as Illinois came to find out.