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Dallas Fourth Grader Catches Basketball Lightning In A Bottle

A Highland Park 10 year-old got the Louisville loss he needed Tuesday night; unfortunately, it was on women’s side of the NCAA basketball tournament.

When the Louisville men beat Michigan Monday to claim the national title, Brayden Schager lost out on his chance at an almost flawless bracket.

But as KERA’s Courtney Collins reports, he was ranked number one out of 8 million entries in ESPN’s bracket challenge for three, glorious days.

It doesn’t take a lot to make 10 year-old Brayden Schager smile; especially when he’s playing basketball.

“Shooting’s my favorite,” Brayden said.

But his amazing bracket picks during March Madness had him flying higher than normal. Brayden was right about 12 Sweet Sixteen teams, seven of the Elite 8, all of the Final Four and both teams in the championship game. Pretty great bracket, right? But even Brayden was shocked by just how great.

“I was really happy that I was number one out of 8.15 million people,” Brayden said.

And Brayden’s quest for perfection had serious hang time. He shot up the leader board on April Fool’s Day, so his buddies thought it was an elaborate prank.

“Most of them didn’t believe me but then I had to show them on my phone and so they started believing me,” Brayden said.

By tip-off of the title game, his friends weren’t just believers; they were hardcore Wolverine fans. And even though Michigan didn’t win, Brayden says everyone in his life was charmed by his 15 minutes of fame.

“All my friends were talking about it and on my door the day that my teacher found out she put on her door, we’re so proud of you Brayden,” he said.

So for now, Brayden will focus more on his lay-ups than his picks, but he’s ready for a repeat when the Final Four comes to Arlington next year.

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.