SAN DIEGO – Hooping to heal.

Lincoln High School junior Derrion Manson treats basketball like a stress reliever.

“It’s just like therapy. I love it and it’s fun to do,” says the Lincoln High guard.

The guard is one of 10 players in the country nominated for Jersey’s Mike’s Naismith Courage Award. It comes after losing his mother Tanisha to diabetes in February of last year.

“She was a great person. She would take people in. We have a canyon next to our house. People living in the canyon, she would take them in and feed them and stuff like that,” says Manson.

Her loss forever changed his life and the way he sees the game.

“I just come in knowing that it could possibly be my last game. So I try it my hardest, play my hardest and try to get my team involved,” says Manson.

The day she died, Manson’s teammates were right be his side.

“I called my coach and they were there 10 minutes after I called them. They were there in my weakest moments,” says Manson.

Manson was nominated by his coach, Jeff Harper-Harris, who felt the young man’s display of perseverance deserved some recognition.

“… because I mean courage, man. You gotta … I mean, that’s your mom, man. You lose your mom, he could’ve quit, but he didn’t. It’s tough getting up everyday, knowing your mom’s not there,” says Lincoln Head Coach Jeff Harper-Harris.

The Naismith award is about more than courage. It’s about a player’s approach to their team, school and community. For Manson, before he steps on the court, his approach to every game, is having a conversation with his mom.

“I just say, I know you’re looking down on me and giving me strength,” says Manson.

March 7 is when Manson finds out if he won the Naismith award.

He’s focused on winning a state championship and the lessons his mother taught him to hold to, for the rest of his life.

“Just like to always be strong no matter what. You’re going to get pulled down, taken down, and talked about. Stay strong and be yourself,” say Manson.