PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns organization will have some special help from a Valley high school student at Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery.
Suns Basketball Operations President Lon Babby said he decided to recruit 17-year-old Jared Ornoski to the team’s front office as an honorary member after hearing about his battle with cancer.
“He epitomizes perseverance and he will win his battle and hopefully we will get a little bit of good luck and a little inspiration from him and I know we will,” Babby said.
Ornoski was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in January and has faced aggressive chemotherapy to treat the disease.
The Phoenix Christian Preparatory Academy student signed with the team yesterday during a surprise pep rally at the school.
“I just thought it was normal assembly and I was just going to talk with some friends or something and then the Suns were there and I didn’t know what to believe,” Ornoski said.
After he was presented with an honorary contract, the Suns surprised Ornoski with a limo ride to the airport, where he and Babby took off to New York to take part in this year’s NBA draft lottery.
Ornoski’s older sister, Kendra had tears in her eyes as the two drove away.
“Seeing him go through all of his treatment and the struggle I’m just glad that he has an opportunity like this to bring a light on the darkness that was placed on us,” she said.
An ecstatic Ornoski said he was thrilled with the opportunity and could not wait to meet other members of the Suns organization.
“I’ve never been to a draft, anywhere,” he said. “I have seen them on TV, like everyone, but I think this will be really cool.”