January 5, 2010

A special night for Stillman in Missouri

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Kirkwood (Mo.) High senior basketball player David "Chubbs" Stillman had a game he will remember forever on Monday night.

And it was all by design.

The Kirkwood Kid
Daniel Stillman was the King of Kirkwood on Monday night. Check out the photo gallery from our friends at KriewallPhotography.com.
Stillman, who is a special needs student at Kirkwood and has been the team's manager since his freshman year, suited up for his high school - and scored six points.

"This night was planned to give back to Chubbs for all he has given us the past four years," Kirkwood coach Bill Gunn said. "He made the night special."

Stillman, who started, entered to his name being blasted over the loudspeaker and chanted from the stands.

"It was so much fun," Stillman said. "Having my brothers, sister and family there also made it special."

The decision to start Stillman was an easy one for Gunn.

"We wanted him to experience putting on the jersey, starting and having the opportunity to play for Kirkwood," he said.

And play Stillman did.

Stillman did not simply log minutes after the game was decided. He was in for the tip, re-entered the game before halftime and again twice in the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter was when Stillman shined, knocking down a 3-pointer midway through the period.

Teammate Hunter Ward, a senior, said it was great to see Chubbs out there competing.

"We were all so glad and proud to see him out there smiling and having a blast," Ward said.

Putting a smile on the faces of his teammates will be the lasting memory of Stillman on the Kirkwood community, but this night would have an ending that no one could have planned.

With the game already decided, Gunn called a timeout and put Stillman back into the game.

"When Coach Gunn called timeout to get Chubbs back into the game, I asked the kids, 'How do we want this to end?' " opposing coach Chris Wilkenson said. "Chubbs had already scored, but they didn't care.

"They said, 'Coach we want him to hit another shot.' It shows that these kids have real character."

And hit another shot he did.


Stillman hits a buzzer beating three.
Stillman, with a flair for the dramatic, hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to close the game.

"The second 3-point basket at the buzzer was a perfect ending," Gunn said. "It was great to see the students and team carry him off the floor."

The reaction has already been overwhelming for Gunn and the team.

"It has been crazy today in a very positive way," he said. "The reaction from the media in St. Louis and throughout the country has been unreal."

Gunn has been contacted by NBC's The Today Show as well as many local St. Louis area news outlets regarding the story.

While the coach is certainly proud, he deflects the attention back to his player.

"I am so happy that this can bring recognition to not only David but to Special Olympians everywhere," he said.

Stillman, however, is still soaking in the game.

"Getting to play for Kirkwood and hitting those 3s was a dream come true," he said. "This is something I will remember the rest of my life."

-- MoSports.com writer Pete Krusing contributed to this report.

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