MONT ALTO, Pa. – The Penn State Mont Alto men's basketball team, in coordination with Team IMPACT, will introduce 13-year-old Preston Harris as the newest member of the Nittany Lions during a special Draft Day event on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. in the Multipurpose Activities Center.
"Meeting and introducing Preston to the team earlier this season has already provided us with energy," said head coach Jack Schenzel. "We're excited for this relationship to grow as I believe the team will embrace Preston as a key member of the family and use his example to be better men on and off of the court."
Preston, the son of Jamie and Jeannie Harris, is currently in the eighth grade and lives in Berkley Springs, W.Va., with his sisters Darby and Kaelyn as well as his younger brother Isaac. Preston was diagnosed with the genetic disorder known as Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of 8. Muscular dystrophy, which is the most common fatal condition diagnosed during childhood, progressively weakens the muscles.
"Preston has refused to be defined by his diagnosis and has never let it prevent him from enjoying his true passion of basketball," said Team IMPACT representative Sam Spall.
The Jan. 11 Draft Day will serve as another face-to-face interaction with the team and the press conference environment will serve as the official introduction of Preston as a Nittany Lion.
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit organization that connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Preston Harris will sign a letter-of-intent and become an official member of the men's basketball team. He will attend Mont Alto practices, games, team dinners, events, and more.
"With Preston being around it allows us to remember the importance of living every day to its fullest," said Schenzel. "We look forward to building a lasting relationship with the young man and providing a memorable experience."
Established in 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,300 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 47 states, reaching over 35,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team.
Preston is an avid sports fan. He is a member of the eighth-grade boy's basketball team at Warm Springs Middle School having scored several times this year. In his free time, he loves to play sports video games and root for his favorite teams and athletes, the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers, as well as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook.
Click here to visit the official Team IMPACT website.