Iowa boys’ basketball player on the autism spectrum finishes career with basket at state
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JD Grawe poses for a photo while watching the Iowa state boys’ basketball tournament. His Marion team lost in the 3A quarterfinals, but he scored the team’s final points.(Photo: Matthew Bain/The Register)Buy Photo
JD Grawe had only one thought as he stood under the basket with the seconds winding down in his Marion basketball career.
“Please, Lord, let me get a basket,” he remembered.
He missed his first three shots and rebounded each. The fourth?
It was good.
Grawe, a Marion senior on the autism spectrum, scored his team’s final two points as the buzzer sounded in a 67-60 loss to top-seeded Cedar Rapids Xavier in the Class 3A state quarterfinals Tuesday morning.
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Marion head coach Mike Manderscheid subbed Grawe in with six seconds left. He told his senior to “just go to the block, and if we get you a shot, we’ll get you shot,” he said.
Manderscheid was thrilled when Grawe made the basket.
“Great for him,” he said, with a smile on his face two hours after the game had ended. “He has believed whole-heartedly for four years that we would make the state tournament as seniors. Nobody was prouder and happier to get to the state tournament than him. For him to be able to have that opportunity to finish that off and get the final two points on the board, I thought it was awesome.”
Grawe played this season with the junior varsity team. He has been an integral part of Marion’s basketball program for the past four years.
“He means an awful lot to our guys, and our guys mean an awful lot to him,” Manderscheid said. “It really is a two-way street. Our guys are great role models for him. But at the same time, he inspires our guys.”
Later Tuesday afternoon, Grawe said playing Marion basketball has been an amazing experience, and that he always knew his team could make the state tournament.
He’s glad he could cap his career with a bucket.
“Marion basketball has meant so much to me,” he said, donning his red and yellow Marion letterman’s jacket. “I can’t even describe the words of what it means to me. It’s something I’m going to take and tell my kids about one day.
“This program shows that anybody can do anything. It doesn’t matter what you are or what you associate with. You can do anything that you set your mind to.”
Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.