Young basketball fan with rare form of cancer inspires team in NCAA Tournament
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Young basketball fan with rare form of cancer inspires team in NCAA Tournament

The Creighton Bluejays’ NCAA Tournament run came to an end Friday in the Sweet 16.Through a highly competitive March Madness, the team found inspiration this season in a 12-year-old with a rare form of cancer. Any good basketball team, playing deep into March has a secret weapon, and Creighton’s was no different.For the Bluejays, it’s Jack Elliot, a 12-year-old who is inspiring the team on the court while fighting his own fight off it.”Coming into this year, I knew the team would be pretty good. It was really fun to see them play, and watch them, you know, shoot threes and dominate the other team,” Jack said.In October, Jack received a rare cancer diagnosis.”I was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, so sometimes I just really can’t get out of bed that day,” Jack said.”When it’s your child, and you can do absolutely nothing. You can’t protect them. It’s devastating,” said Jack’s mom, Kara Elliot.Then Make-A-Wish Nebraska called, and Jack was connected with the Creighton men’s basketball team.”Just special, I get to meet the guys and connect to them and they’re cheering me on,” Jack said.It started off with the family buying season tickets and has included courtside seats to a historic upset of No. 1 UConn, a game ball on senior day, and pep talks at practice.Then, it was a random text message from coach Mac.”It was really cool cause coach Mac supported me through all of this, and he’s a really good mentor and friend. It’s just fun knowing that he cares about me like that, and he will support me through all of this,” Jack said.”His outlook on life going through something very difficult at his age with radiation and chemo and everything that they’re doing to his body. Jack, he’s a tough little guy,” said Greg McDermott.And his favorite player is Baylor Scheierman.”It puts in perspective how lucky, you know, we are to be able to do what we do. Obviously, I’m just thankful for that relationship that has been created,” said Scheierman.”He has a lot of grit and he just keeps going, you know, fights for the ball, and he wants to win,” Jack said.Just like Jack.”He doesn’t get rattled. He doesn’t get upset. We said hey, you have to climb this really tall mountain by yourself, and he looked at that really tall mountain. And he said, OK,” Kara said.And as much as the team inspires Jack, the most courageous kid in Omaha inspires them right back.”It’s a good reminder to our guys you know how good we have it and how blessed we are to do what we do,” said McDermott.At Tuesday’s practice, before the team left for Detroit to play in the Sweet 16, there was one more Suprise in store.”I love this team. They’re just an amazing group of men,” Jack said.Jack and his family will be watching the Jays from their home in Papillion over the weekend.

The Creighton Bluejays’ NCAA Tournament run came to an end Friday in the Sweet 16.

Through a highly competitive March Madness, the team found inspiration this season in a 12-year-old with a rare form of cancer.

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Any good basketball team, playing deep into March has a secret weapon, and Creighton’s was no different.

For the Bluejays, it’s Jack Elliot, a 12-year-old who is inspiring the team on the court while fighting his own fight off it.

“Coming into this year, I knew the team would be pretty good. It was really fun to see them play, and watch them, you know, shoot threes and dominate the other team,” Jack said.

In October, Jack received a rare cancer diagnosis.

“I was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, so sometimes I just really can’t get out of bed that day,” Jack said.

“When it’s your child, and you can do absolutely nothing. You can’t protect them. It’s devastating,” said Jack’s mom, Kara Elliot.

Then Make-A-Wish Nebraska called, and Jack was connected with the Creighton men’s basketball team.

“Just special, I get to meet the guys and connect to them and they’re cheering me on,” Jack said.

It started off with the family buying season tickets and has included courtside seats to a historic upset of No. 1 UConn, a game ball on senior day, and pep talks at practice.

Then, it was a random text message from coach Mac.

“It was really cool cause coach Mac supported me through all of this, and he’s a really good mentor and friend. It’s just fun knowing that he cares about me like that, and he will support me through all of this,” Jack said.

“His outlook on life going through something very difficult at his age with radiation and chemo and everything that they’re doing to his body. Jack, he’s a tough little guy,” said Greg McDermott.

And his favorite player is Baylor Scheierman.

“It puts in perspective how lucky, you know, we are to be able to do what we do. Obviously, I’m just thankful for that relationship that has been created,” said Scheierman.

“He has a lot of grit and he just keeps going, you know, fights for the ball, and he wants to win,” Jack said.

Just like Jack.

“He doesn’t get rattled. He doesn’t get upset. We said hey, you have to climb this really tall mountain by yourself, and he looked at that really tall mountain. And he said, OK,” Kara said.

And as much as the team inspires Jack, the most courageous kid in Omaha inspires them right back.

“It’s a good reminder to our guys you know how good we have it and how blessed we are to do what we do,” said McDermott.

At Tuesday’s practice, before the team left for Detroit to play in the Sweet 16, there was one more Suprise in store.

“I love this team. They’re just an amazing group of men,” Jack said.

Jack and his family will be watching the Jays from their home in Papillion over the weekend.

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