MBA| Grit: Overcoming Adversity | Speakers Visser and Morris

visser morris

This week Michigan Basketball Academy hosted two speakers, Brian Morris and Kyle Visser, to talk about the importance of Grit – never stopping and excelling in hardship.

Kyle Visser, a 6’11 former professional basketball player, came to speak to MBA high school players about grit on Wednesday night.

Visser told the players, “As a freshman in high school (at Forest Hills Central), I barely played at all. It was then I decided to work hard in the offseason. I actually enjoyed doing it too – it never felt like work. Next thing I knew I was playing in front of college coaches. And you know one of the main reasons Wake Forest selected me? It wasn’t based on talent, but grit. I ran end to end simply displaying work ethic and they said, “that’s the kind of attitude we want in our program.”

Visser averaged 17 points per game his senior season at Wake Forest and was the only player in the ACC conference to rank in the top ten in scoring, rebounding, field goal percentage, and blocks. Visser was considered by ESPN to be the nation’s most improved college basketball player, after scoring 466 points during his senior season, which was more than his previous three seasons combined.

Visser continued, “After college, I was hoping to get drafted to the NBA. My former high school coach threw a big draft party for me on that night. I never got the call. That was hard…really hard. But that’s where grit comes in. I kept working then was able to play professionally in Germany from 2007 – 2015.” 

Brian Morris, the Assistant Coach for the Aquinas Womens Basketball Team, spoke to the MBA teams on Tuesday regarding grit and what it means at the next level on and off the court.

“In order to possess grit, you have to know what your why is. Why do you get out of bed? Why play basketball? Why practice?

At the next level the competition is going to get more intense and competitive. Are you going to be the one to continue to play hard in practice when you’re not the best one on the team anymore? Will you possess grit and hard work when you’re on the bench for most of the season trying to compete for minutes? Are you going to remember your why outside of the court when you need to get your studies accomplished?” 

Visser spoke a bit on the topic of studies too. “There were a lot of guys that had more talent than me. But they couldn’t get it done in the classroom so they ended up having to drop out. It’s a bummer but that’s important at the next level.”

After the speakers, each MBA team voted for one player on their team who was the grit player. Below is a representative from each team. Congrats to our MBA players for being exceptional examples!

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From left to right: Tyler Brand, Matthew Guppy, Eli Carlson, Chris Brown, Max Tucker, Scott Cargil, Kensey Armock, Michael Lomonoco, Nyoun Nhial, Hailey McBride, Kelly Olthof, Danielle Lamancusa, Katy Majick.

Big thanks to Brian and Kyle for investing in the character of our high school players! When we invest in our players character in all sports, we hope it will not only show on the court, but in their life outside of the court too. #BeyondTheSport #TeachLifeSport #CreateACulture