GOLDEN - Golden senior Scott Lubkeman is like any typical high school teenager.
Lubkeman has a full six class schedule, which means he has homework (sigh). But on the weekends he likes to hang out at the mall and maybe catch a movie — Lubkeman is a giant movie buff.
Lubkeman also, like many other teenagers, had a job at a diner across the street from the high school but, because he is on the basketball team, his commitment currently belongs to his squad.
Only, Lubkeman isn’t like every other student at Golden High School because he has Down Syndrome. But that hasn’t deterred him from pursing a basketball career, following in the footsteps of his brother, Brad, who was All-Conference in 2007.
Since Scott was eight years he has always been a part of Demons’ basketball program, whether as a manager or simply rooting the team on as their biggest fan. So when Scott became a freshman longtime Golden head basketball coach John Anderson thought adding him to the freshman team was a logical move.
“Scotty was around for so many years so when his freshman year came I approached his dad about letting him play,” Anderson said.
With his family excited and honored, yet concerned, they green lighted what they thought might be a challenge for coach Anderson and his teammates.
“For me it has been not one second more work. Mainly because he has such good teammates, a lot of these kids have all grown up with Scotty. Scotty is just one of us, we mess around with him like he is any other guy on the team, because he is,” Anderson said.
So like any other player Lubkeman joined the freshman team and put the work in with endless hours of practice, particularly on his jump shot. Eventually, Lubkeman joined the junior varsity team, and this season he fulfilled his dream of playing varsity basketball.
“He’s really just another guy on the team. We hang out at lunch, we hang out on off-block, I have had plenty of classes with him,” said teammate and longtime friend Nolan Holmes. “We don’t have to tip-toe around him at all ever, he is always just happy and it puts things in perspective for you.”
Four seasons later and well-known as one of the most popular people in the popular town of Golden, Lubkeman has helped change everyone’s perceptive on what someone with Down Syndrome is capable of.
“It’s meant everything to him. It’s just elevated his whole status not only around high school but around town. You can’t go anywhere in Golden without someone coming up to him, everybody knows him and I think it’s because of him being on the team,” said his father, Steve Lubkeman.
“It has really just elevated his acceptance in the community and in school.”
Scott is averaging two points per game this season, scoring 14 points in seven games. He also has recorded a steal. However, all the hours and jump shots that Lubkeman invested in practice paid off tenfold on Dec. 3.
Against D’Evelyn, perhaps the best team in the state that also features the best home court advantage, Lubkeman hit a three pointer at the end of the game for the first varsity points of his career. The near capacity crowd, as well as players from both teams, absolutely erupted.
To call the moment emotional and monumental would be an understatement.
“A kid like Scotty, and a moment like that, go way beyond the game of basketball and it also grows together our communities as well as our rivalry,” D’Evelyn head coach Troy Pachner said. “To see both teams coming together and cheering like that for Scott is pretty special. Scotty is such a good kid, win or lose the game.”
However, the least surprised person regarding all of his success is Lubkeman himself. His father said Scott expects to make shots when he gets his opportunities to get in the game and he has always envisioned not only being on the team, but being successful, just like his big brother.
“I’m a shooter, I like to shoot,” Lubkeman said at Golden’s practice last week. But when we pressed him on talking more about himself and his big shot, all he wanted to do is talk about his teammates.
“I like being around the guys a lot. I like to hang out with the guys,” Lubkeman said.
And while Lubkeman, a true shooting guard, measures at roughly 5-foot, it is immeasurable what giving him the opportunity to play did for him and his family.
“It’s such a big thrill for us,” Steve Lubkeman said. “He love’s basketball so much and has always idolized his big brother. It is really just special for us and for him, and coach Anderson should be recognized for giving him this opportunity.”
But Scott’s basketball career isn’t over just yet. Actually, he is on a team that has big aspirations because of their big talent.
The Demons currently own a 7-5 record (3-1 in league play) and have emerged as a threat not only in 4A Jeffco, but in the upcoming state tournament as well. Therefore Lubkeman certainly will have a shot to make some more big shots for the Demons down the stretch.
“I think Scott is definitely making this team what it is going to be this year because it’s almost like we are playing to get Scotty into the game. Our goal is to get him in the game so he can get those points,” Holmes said. “It’s just really special because he has been around the program for so long. We love Scotty.”