For someone who doesn't entirely understand the sport of basketball, Owen Godfrey has a remarkable feel for the game.
The 6-foot-5 senior at San Diego's Westview High School is an assistant manager on the basketball team, and he may be a better shooter than some the team's players. Godfrey, who is autistic, can consistently make 90 percent of his free-throw attempts. During a recent fundraiser, he knocked down 156 of 200 three-pointers.
The Wolverines have started a tradition, not ending practice until Godfrey makes a three-pointer. Luckily for the squad, that normally doesn't take too long.
“He isn’t able to do everything that we as players are able to and isn’t able to think as we do, yet it doesn’t stop him,” senior forward Andrew McWilliam told the U-T San Diego for a recent story on Godfrey. "When we see Owen shooting, it makes us want to work even harder and practice harder because we can play for Westview."
Godfrey and his family moved to San Diego two years ago, and one of the aides in his special education classes was varsity basketball coach Kyle Smith. Impressed by Godfrey's shooting during his physical education classes, Smith wondered if Godfrey would want to have a role on the basketball team.
Smith called Godfrey's mother, Nicola Bridges, who told the U-T San Diego that she was blown away by the offer. Godfrey is mostly non-verbal, and sometimes he has trouble expressing his feelings, so Bridges has to attend most basketball practices.
It was a sacrifice she was happy to make.
"This has changed Owen’s life phenomenally in so many ways," Bridges told the U-T San Diego. "Outside of school, they don't have a lot of friends. So, for Owen to be a part of this team and family, it means everything to me."
Godfrey gets a chance to shine in front of a larger audience during halftime free-throw and three-point shooting contests. Check him out for yourself: