The Houston Cougars introduce 10-year-old lupus patient Jace Abarca as part of the potential Final Four team

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) — The Houston Cougars men’s basketball team last four Aspirations, particularly with the spectacular collegiate sports in H-Town.

If they go all the way this season, they might have their latest star recruit to thank.

The team introduced 10-year-old Jace Abarca as part of the Coogs squad on Tuesday. He’s expected to play a key role for the team, not just for the ball boy duties, which he’ll carry out throughout the season.

Jace, who lives with lupus and kidney disease, hopes to be the inspiration for tough Cougars games that lie ahead.

“I think that’s what brought us here. It’s just motivation, the way he inspires all of us around him,” said James Abarca, Jace’s father, at Tuesday’s launch. “As he faced (his illness), he was the one who picked us up and motivated us to get through a lot of things. Just his positivity, his zest for life.”

“He can help motivate (the Cougars) just as much as he did for us,” James continued.

Jace’s joining UH is made possible by Team EFFECT. This nonprofit organization that connects children with serious illnesses and disabilities with collegiate athletic teams to create a lasting, life-changing experience for all involved.

Jace, his two siblings and his parents were all part of his statement of intent at the signing at the Guy V. Lewis Development Facility, where they joined head coach Kelvin Sampson and other stars of the team.

Jace and the Coogs begin the season on November 7th when Northern Colorado visits the Fertitta Center.

ALSO SEE: Houston Cougars star Marcus Sasser on returning to the team: ‘We’ve got work to do’

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. The Houston Cougars introduce 10-year-old lupus patient Jace Abarca as part of the potential Final Four team

Russell Falcon

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