ALBANY — The day had already been memorable enough for Tyhlar Goudreau.
The JV boys’ basketball player at Mechanicville High School spent the morning and early afternoon with the University at Albany men’s basketball team as it prepared for Saturday’s game against Hartford. The 15-year-old watched film with the team, got to shoot around with players, took part in the program’s pregame meal and watched UAlbany’s 84-77 win against Hartford from the team’s bench area.
“They treated me like I was one of their own,” Goudreau said.
At halftime, though, the day became even more special for Goudreau.
As part of a halftime ceremony in which the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeast New York expressed appreciation for UAlbany athletics’ involvement with the foundation, Goudreau found out his wish to head to an NBA All-Star Game will be granted next month.
“It was a moment that I can never forget,” Goudreau said of finding out he’ll head to Charlotte for the Feb. 17 game.
It was an emotional moment for Goudreau, whose eyes welled when he found out.
“There’s no words that can explain it,” Goudreau said of the experience.
UAlbany head coach Will Brown started his postgame comments by thanking Goudreau for spending the day with his team.
“We’d like to thank people from Make-a-Wish, like to thank our associate athletic director Charlie Voelker to allow us to be a part of that experience,” Brown said. “I think we all enjoyed it and hopefully Tyhlar will become our good-luck charm.”
UAlbany led 49-35 at halftime, and Goudreau missed the start of the second half as he spoke with local reporters. With UAlbany off to a big lead to start the game with the high school sophomore sitting with the team, Voelker made sure to hurry Goudreau back to the Great Danes once he finished speaking with media members.
“Tyhlar, we’re up right now,” Voelker said, “and we need you back on the bench.”
Reach Michael Kelly at [email protected] or @ByMichaelKelly on Twitter.