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Thursday, January 14, 2010

By: Bill Reynolds, Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE -- He was 9 years old when his brother Christopher was born with Down syndrome, a chromosome disorder that often includes developmental difficulties.

Not that he understood the ramifications of it then.

That would come a few years later, when he began to understand how his brother's reality affected everything, his family, himself, everything. By then he knew his brother had challenges other kids didn't have, and that was just the way it was, and always would be.

"I always saw myself as my brother's keeper," he says. "That's my responsibility."

He also began to see how other people viewed his brother, how they would look at him and know he was different, how they wanted to know why.

"I think it made me more sensitive to other people," he says.

Matt Mullery went on to be a high school basketball star in Millstone, N.J. He was All-State and the all-time leading scorer at his high school. And his brother always went to his games. Just as he did to Matt's AAU games, going here, there and everywhere. Christopher is 13 now and loves sports, both playing them and traveling with his parents all over the Northeast to attend his brother's games.

"Christopher's really into it," he says. "He knows what's going on, and he wants us to win."

Matt Mullery has become one of the best players in the Ivy League, a 6-foot-8 inside player who can score with his back to the basket with either hand, no small thing in a college basketball world where most big guys want to face the basket and shoot jump shots. Last season, he was first-team All-Ivy, All-Region, and was honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches for excellence on both the court and in the classroom. All that, and he tutors classmates in math and calculus, too. Brown coach Jesse Agel calls him the "ultimate student-athlete."

To read the rest of Bill Reynolds' piece on Matt Mullery, as found in the Providence Journal, please click here.