SALT LAKE CITY, UT. (KWCH) -- Max Plansky knows the Huskies inside and out: their strengths, weaknesses, and even reads the opposing team's scouting reports. He's been along for the ride for the past five seasons. Plansky is the team's MVP and he's never played one minute of basketball for the Huskies.
Max, 21, was born with cerebral palsy. His father Michael was a former college basketball coach and has long been a friend of Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen. When he asked Coen if his son could watch a few games and practices, Coen did him one better.
Coach Coen made Max an official part of the team, allowing him to travel with the guys and attend all games and practices. He's been to every CAA tournament and both NCAA tournaments. Most importantly, he's just one of the guys.
"One of the biggest things for me with having Max around is, I just always try to stay as humble as I can and stay grateful," junior guard Bolden Brace said.
Jeremy Miller is a senior guard on the team. He's known Max for the past four years and said they bonded instantly.
"I think of him more like the younger brother or the older brother that I never had," he said.
Coen said he's grateful to have Max around daily because he teaches the team about adversity.
"You know, he gives to the team much more than he gets. When we talk about adversity, during the year when someone sprained an ankle -- that's adversity!" he said. "To be able to go through life and do it with a smile, and if you're around Max, you know how infectious that can be."
Brace is aware of his infectious smile. When we brought it up around him, he smiled himself, thinking about the bond they share. Brace cuts Max's hair every three weeks to "keep him fresh" and to enjoy his presence.
"One of the best feelings I've had was just seeing Max laugh and he always laughs. Everyone jokes with him every time we see him," he said.
Max's father Michael has been by his side by the beginning. He's relishing in the moments he gets to share with Max and the Huskies.
"They've just given him a sense of belonging that we would not be able to get anywhere else," he said.
Michael said Max no longer cares about outcomes like he did when they first joined the Huskies. Now, regardless of wins and losses, he just wants to hang out with his buddies.
"The only way you can do that is through inclusion, to get these special moments," he said. "The crazy thing is, these special moments have become normal. What sometimes is like a Make-A-Wish, is now his life."