New Jersey high school student with autism drains buzzer-beater shot at end of game

WABC logo
Thursday, February 27, 2020
New Jersey high school student with autism drains buzzer-beater shot at end of game
Tim Fleischer reports on the heartwarming shot for one Lyndhurst student with autism.

LYNDHURST, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey student with autism made the shot of his life during a high school basketball game Tuesday night.

A.J. Leone is the team manager at Lyndhurst High School, but at the end of the game against Park Ridge High School, the coach substituted him into the game.

"I just knew there was less than a minute left," Leone said.

With his Golden Bears ahead, Leone was substituted into the game and the ball went right to him.

"I was like super nervous, but the trainer told me to take deep breaths and picture yourself shooting the shot," he said.

His teammates rebounded a couple of missed shots and shot the ball back out to Leone, who had moved to the three point line, and just like that, he let it fly.

"When the buzzer went off, everybody in the bleachers ran off and was on me," Leone said with a big smile.

2020 has been a big year for Leone as he was asked to be the team manager for the football team and was elected homecoming king.

"They really feel that A.J. is part of the team," Athletic director Jeff Radigan said. "And they love A.J., and moments like this they cherish as well."

The highlight, though, was Leone's shot and him being swarmed by his teammates.

"We are all happy for him, because he brought that energy to us when we play, so we wanted show it back to him," Senior Anthony Lembo said.

Senior Brandon Stuart said he helps the team keep their heads up.

"Always keep us smiling, so i felt like it was the perfect way for him to feel happy for himself," Stuart said.


* More New Jersey news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts