PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - As 6-year-old Mason Wyckoff sat on the floor of the gym at the Temple University basketball court at Pearson-McGonigle Hall Friday. He looked very much like what he was--a little boy among very big young men. But the Temple Owls coaching staff believes this is Wyckoff belongs. On a court with his teammates.
They rolled out the cherry red carpet for their newest recruit--Wyckoff, a 4 foot 2 inch bundle of energy from Bristol, Bucks County, was there to sign a national letter of intent.
And his someday head coach, Fran Dunphy, couldn't have been more proud.
"We see a young guy like Mace who, who has a battle," Dunphy told reporters. "And he doesn't fear it. He faces it with great courage. And he's a role model for us."
"Mace" has Common variable immune deficiency also known as CVID It basically means his immune system doesn't work. When he gets sick, he gets very sick, and battling the disease means weekly injections to to help his body fight back.
"He knows how to open doors without touching the handles," his mom, Brianna, told FOX 29's Bruce Gordon. "He knows how to flush toilets without touching them. He uses sanitizer all the time. He knows how to do a lot of things that most kids don't know how to do to keep himself safe."
Mason's signing ceremony was orchestrated by TEAM IMPACT, a national non-profit that pairs college sports teams with sick kids to the benefit of both.
He signed his letter which commits him to attending Owls practices and games as his schedule permits and accepted his new Temple jersey, presented to him by his favorite player, center Damion Moore.
Gordon playfully asked the coach whether at 4 foot 2 Mason would be used in a small-ball line-up as a point guard.
"I think the game's changing a little bit, Bruce," Dunphy with a smile said. "And I think he's going to be able to play inside--even at his size. I think he's going to be able to dunk over some of our taller guys."
Mason's favorite part of basketball?
"The dribbling part when they make slam dunks."
A playing career is a long ways off, but Mason's mom says the attention and support he's getting from Temple makes life a little easier for her son.
"He loves it," Briana said. "They're his boys. He's one of the team."