YORK – Everything in life happens for a reason.
When York College senior basketball player Mike Buffalo went to the York Community Center one day, he never realized a chance meeting with a kid who just wanted to see him dunk a basketball would change his life.
Mike loved the game of basketball and he saw himself after college hoping to take his game to the next level.
But something happened and he couldn’t really explain why his passion and his desire for the game he had loved, suddenly no longer existed.
“I went to the Community Center one day and I ran into this kid named Morgan Conner and he asked me if I could dunk the basketball. I was just down there kind of working on my game in between classes and I said sure,” Buffalo said.
“It’s kind of my nature to do that for kids, because when I was growing up I wanted to see players do that too. The whole experience was kind of humbling to have this kid look up to me.”
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Buffalo said that when he came to York College from New York, via a Virginia Military School, he was expecting to play a lot and see a lot of time on the court, but things didn’t work out that way and he told his coach Delton Deal that he no longer had the desire to play the game.
“I didn’t hold any grudges against the coaches, I know that things don’t always work out, but I just didn’t have the desire to play the game anymore and I told the coach don’t put me in the game, because I just won’t give the effort he needs to see. I just gave up on the game of basketball and at the same time I was having wisdom tooth problems and had to get that taken care of too.”
Buffalo said the friendship continued to grow between him and Morgan and he started to work out with him and helped him do some drills and he even started to do them himself.
“He asked me to come work him out and I did. I gave him some things to do and went over some drills with him,” Buffalo commented. “I started to do the drills myself and for some reason the passion and the desire returned to play the game. I can’t explain what happened and why I started to feel this way again. I don’t know what it was. Maybe I started to see myself in him and I started to realize again all these dreams I had.”
The York College men’s basketball team returned from a weekend trip and Buffalo went back to the coach.
“My team returned and I told my coach I wanted to play again. It was rough because I still wasn’t getting a lot of playing time, but since I am a senior, on senior night I got to start and played about 36 minutes,” Buffalo shared. “I put on my best performance of the year, I had 28 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals. Morgan and his brother (Mason) were in the gym that night and it was then I realized that he was the reason I was playing the game again and was back on track to achieve my dream. If it hadn’t been for that day at the community center and me meeting Morgan, I probably wouldn’t have gone back to basketball. I am positive he’s the reason. He gave me my life back.”
Buffalo has continued to work out with Morgan and his brother and he has also been to York Middle School to have lunch with Morgan and his classmates. They both attended the York Dukes’ first round game with Pius X at state basketball together and later this summer Buffalo will be showing Morgan and his family around New York, the Bronx and where he grew up.
Buffalo will return to New York in May following graduation. He will continue to work on his basketball skills and hope to catch the eye of a scout who might be his ticket to the NBA, playing in club games all summer. Buffalo will graduate with a degree in business administration and following his basketball days has plans to stay in the sport as a career.
“I just feel that I owe Morgan so much,” said Buffalo. “He and his family are going to come to New York in July and I am going to show them around and take them to where I grew up as a kid. I want to enter the corporate world and maybe get a job in the front office of an NBA team.
“That day was a blessing. God works in mysterious ways and now I just don’t look at life from one direction,” said Buffalo. “The sky is the limit and anything is possible.”