When Aubrey Barone posted a YouTube clip of her 4-year-old son Shane in tears at the thought of senior guard Scoop Jardine not playing basketball at Syracuse after this season, she didn't expect more than a few friends and family to ever see it.
Instead more than 60,000 people viewed the video this month including Jardine himself.
Jardine invited Barone and her son to come to campus to meet him on Sunday only hours after Syracuse returned home after advancing to the Sweet 16 with a resounding victory over Kansas State. During his visit, Shane toured Syracuse's practice facility and locker room, received a few Syracuse-themed birthday gifts from Jardine and even met several of Jardine's Syracuse teammates.
"It was incredible," Barone said. "Scoop's just a good role model. It speaks to his character that he would do something like this."
The original video of Shane crying struck a chord with viewers because of his attachment to the Syracuse guard. He tearfully told his mom he didn't want Scoop to graduate, nor did he have any interest in selecting another favorite player after he leaves.
"I don't want to pick another one," Shane said. "I just like Scoop."
When Shane was at Syracuse on Sunday, Jardine's father and teammate Michael Carter-Williams held him up to the rim so he could experience dunking the ball. Afterward Jardine told Shane that next season, Carter-Williams should be his "new favorite."
"He didn't know what to think," Barone said. "He knows them as three-inch figures on the television screen, so we get there and they're 6-foot-7. He was a little shell-shocked."
One of the gifts Jardine gave Shane was a small basketball with a Syracuse logo. The boy has slept with it every night since.
"He's definitely a big fan," Barone said. "Even bigger than before."
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- Scoop Jardine