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Student manager who recovered from brain tumor earns his Kentucky degree

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The triumphant journey of UK's Kevin Massey (6:34)

Student manager Kevin Massey fought a brain tumor at age 16 and eventually became an integral part of Kentucky basketball. (6:34)

A Kentucky basketball student manager who was diagnosed with a brain tumor as a teenager but recovered to become a staple within the program will graduate on Friday with a communications degree.

Kevin Massey, who was given 24 hours to live after he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 16 in 2010, survived. His determination was the focus of a SportsCenter feature in 2015.

Before the diagnosis, Massey was a high school athlete in Indiana.

He awoke one day in 2010 and was unable to move.

After a friend told him about the die-hard Kentucky fan’s dire situation, coach John Calipari visited Massey in the hospital and promised him a position as a student manager if he’d continue to fight.

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Basketball gives Kentucky student manager a purpose

Kevin Massey reflects on what coach John Calipari and the Wildcats basketball program mean to his life and his fight to overcome cancer.

Massey and Calipari fulfilled their vows as Massey outlived the prognoses, enrolled at Kentucky and received an offer from Calipari to join the team as a student manager. During his time with the squad, Massey became an essential member of the storied basketball program.

"The day I got accepted was the first day I ever saw my dad cry," Massey said, according to the school’s website.

Calipari credited assistant John Robic with solidifying Massey’s connection to the team.

Confined to a wheelchair, Massey and his service dog attended practices and remained close to coaches, players and other staffers.

Massey said Friday’s commencement, however, is just the beginning of a bright post-Kentucky future.

"Graduating is just another step in life," Massey said, per the school’s website. "I got bigger plans -- I don’t just want to graduate and stop there. I got bigger plans and bigger goals and more people to help."