Thanks to an acrobatic bucket-making magician, Donovan Mitchell, fresh out of the University of Louisville and an entourage of tough and selfless teammates, the 2017-18 season was a special one for the Utah Jazz.
However, the moves off the court are what made it extra special for one die-hard lifelong fan. Doug Wysocki, a former high school teacher, basketball coach and Jazz season-ticket holder, hadn’t attended a game since suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2014. But on April 5, he got a big assist from University of Utah Commencement 2018 speaker Ben Nemtin, who has made a career of fulfilling “bucket list” dreams, and received round ball treatment fit for an all-star.
As part of Nemtin’s commencement appearance, he wanted to recognize someone extraordinary. The trick was finding that person. Through Occupational Therapy at the College of Health , where Wysocki is a client of Beth Cardell , Ph.D., University Marketing & Communications and the Board of Trustees, he learned about Wysocki and his winning and optimistic attitude despite the hardships he’s faced over the past four years. They contacted Wysocki’s daughter, Sara Jensen, who was instrumental in making sure that the occasion was a surprise and went off without a hitch.
What proceeded was magical and left thousands – whether they saw it at commencement or on their computers, phones or tablets – a little choked up.