ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Jude Stamper’s Monroe bedroom is stacked.
“I have a Trey Burke autograph, Jabrill Peppers autograph, a John Beilein bobblehead,” Jude rattled off, showing those and many more items.
The 12-year-old became a Michigan fan by spending years at Mott Children’s Hospital through 10 surgeries. Jude has something called AMC.
“It creates challenges for his range of motion, his ability to walk and to move,” Jude’s dad, Nate Stamper, said.
Through Team Impact, Jude got the chance of a lifetime. In November, he signed with John Beilein and the basketball team. His family thought it would be a one-and-done experience.
“I thought it would be like a fan thing, maybe go to practice,” Jude said.
Instead, the guys have welcomed Jude and his family into their inner circle. Jude is courtside, and tableside and in the locker room. He has become their inspiration.
“It’s so awesome,” Jude said. “I feel like I’m actually on a real team.”
“For Jude to be able to have a relationship with them, it’s been a dream come true,” Nate Stamper said.
The team and Jude are on quite a magical run. Now, both are Final Four-bound. Maybe this 12-year-old, who’s never played the game, is their secret weapon? He would like to think so.
“With our team, there’s me and Austin Hatch,” Jude said. “So, me and Austin are the Sister Jean of Michigan basketball.”
The Stamper family will be in San Antonio for the Final Four and Jude hopes his team can win two more games. He plans to meet the real Sister Jean over the weekend.