GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — In the most literal way possible, Carson Vis’ basketball season changed in a matter of seconds.
The Grand Rapids South Christian sophomore stole the ball in the regional championship game against Hamilton Thursday with nothing but the hoop in sight. He went up and dunked the ball. However, when he was coming down to land, he used his arms to slow his fall.
Landing awkwardly, the moment became a sudden blur to Vis.
“I can’t remember it very well, I just remember seeing the floor and then hitting the floor,” Vis said. “That’s about it. I looked at my arms and they were in different spots than they should be.
“All I could think was not only is my season gone, but so is my summer.”
Vis broke both of his wrists, sending him immediately to the hospital. The Sailors went on to win the game 82-47 over Hamilton, but all of their minds shifted to what was going on with Vis.
Vis will miss the remainder of the season but he has still been at practice supporting his teammates, trying to find a different way to be a leader and teammate even as an underclassman who now has two casts covering his arms.
Senior guard Jacob DeHaan said the team wanted to win for him in the regional final and is now using Vis as a rallying point moving forward.
“It was hard because he was not just a great teammate but does so much for us out there on the floor,” DeHaan said. “I think we will be able to come back and bounce back and use it as fuel with him right by our side.”
A 6-foot-4 forward who can play nearly every position, Vis won’t be an easy replacement.
He has an offer from Ferris State University and took unofficial visits to the likes of Michigan and Toledo. This season he has been averaging 20.7 points, five rebounds and three assists per game. Before exiting the regional title contest, Vis had nine points in the first quarter alone.
Time hasn’t slowed for the Sailors. Head coach Taylor Johnson has the team moving full steam ahead in practice and will have junior Sam Weiss start in place of Vis on Tuesday in the state quarterfinal round against rival Hudsonville Unity Christian.
“More than anything, Carson is a good kid and we feel for him but his spirits are high,” Johnson said. “I kind of told him, ‘Hey, man, life is full of adversity, it’s about how you respond to it.’ He’s going to build a lot of character and come back stronger for it. I’m really proud about how everyone else has rallied around him.”
Vis will be the first to tell you he definitely needs people who support him around him, because right now he can’t do a lot of things on his own.
Even he chuckles at the thought of his family and friends helping him eat food, but it’s now a reality for the time being.
“The first few days there was a lot of pain but it’s not as bad anymore,” Vis said with a smile. “However, my parents have to brush my teeth and feed me. At school, I don’t really like my friends to feed me so I kind of put it on the table and eat it like that. I haven’t really done anything (on my own) other than stand, which doesn’t hurt too bad. I go in on Friday to see how it’s all going.”
You can ask any South Christian teammate and they’d tell you they need Vis on the sideline for motivation to win a state championship this week.
For Vis and DeHaan, this would be their second state title of the year, as they won a football state championship in the fall.
With their hands full against a Unity Christian, DeHaan said that’s where the team’s focus currently is.
“We’re trying not to think that far ahead,” DeHaan said. “It would be awesome, but right now all of us are focusing on a big one tomorrow night.”
Regardless of how far the season goes, DeHaan and his teammates can count on Vis being right by their side. While he can’t clap for them, he will be doing his best to cheer and give support.
“I try to keep a smile on my face and let them know I have faith in them no matter what is going on,” Vis said. “I know they can win on Tuesday and I’m trying to hype them up for it.”