The Wright State Raiders knocked off the Cleveland State Vikings on Tuesday night to earn the Horizon League's automatic NCAA bid. It's the program's third trip to the Big Dance, and first since 2007. But you're not reading this post because of the Raiders' win. It's how they celebrated it that's noteworthy.
Wright State freshman Ryan Custer was injured in an off-campus party last April, an accident that left him motionless in a pool. Custer underwent spinal cord surgery, putting the forward in a wheelchair. Despite the paralysis, Custer has remained with the program, and according to coaches and teammates, been an integral part of the team's success.
“If you ask anybody on our team who is the best teammate or the closest friend, two-thirds of the guys would probably say him,” Wright State director of basketball operations Nick Goff said to WCPO. “And that’s a freshman on the basketball team.”
Following the team's victory, the team went over to Custer and engulfed him in a group hug.
The team also awarded Custer a Horizon League champions hat. "To have him here this weekend was wonderful," said coach Scott Nagy.
A video proving that the best parts of March Madness aren't just contained to upsets or buzzer-beaters.