Video by Tracy Holmes/Shasta County Sports
Tannor DeWitt wasn’t going to let anything get in the way of him living his dream.
The Enterprise High School senior, born with Cerebral palsy, made his varsity debut Thursday night in the opening round of the 50th Harlan Carter Invitational and buried a 15-foot jump shot in the waning minutes in a rout of visiting Spring Creek (Nev.).
It drew an uproar from the stands, bringing people all across the gym to their feet. He was hugged by teammates and, after the final whistle, he was mauled by the Manatowa Maniacs – Enterprise’s student cheer section.
“It was a shocker,” said DeWitt, who was also diagnosed with epilepsy at 10-years-old and later with Crohn’s Disease in 2016. “I was super happy and excited.”
DeWitt was part of the junior varsity team as a sophomore and moved up to varsity as a junior. But this was the first time he was given a jersey and a roster spot, Enterprise coach Jim Deaver said. Still, no one thought DeWitt was going to get in the game, not even Deaver, who admitted it would happen at some point in the season but figured senior night if there wasn’t another opportunity.
“I don’t think he was expecting it either but something told me to put him in,” Deaver said.
The 2 minutes, 10 seconds of court time isn’t only going to be ingrained in his memory but his passion for basketball that he displayed is being felt around Shasta County and the country as the video has gone viral. It’s reminding people that sports go beyond what happens on the court, field or track.
“I’m going to cry again, it’s dreams come true,” said Tannor’s father Gordon. “All he ever wants is to be a normal kid and to do what he loves. He loves basketball.”
So much so that when he was granted his “Make A Wish” in 2017, he chose a half-court basketball court for his backyard, Gordon said.
“This is his dream,” Gordon said. “He literally lives for this.”
When DeWitt entered the game with Enterprise up 30 during two foul shots from Spring Creek. He mishandled a bounce pass to him on the perimeter, turning the ball over.
It didn’t deter him. First game jitters, he laughingly admitted afterward.
He played defense on the ensuing possession, shuffling his feet on defense to get in the correct position, just as he was taught. But he didn’t get a chance to make a play.
The next offensive possession, he set up at the free throw line. His “sweet spot.” Matt Luera passed him the ball but his shot hit off the back of the rim, falling into the hands of Spring Creek for a rebound.
But, unlike in life, sports offer second chances.
Enterprise’s Dakota Baker knocked the ball free to get the ball back. Baker passed to Don Stradley, who handed it off to DeWitt for another attempt from the free throw line.
It wasn’t a two-handed push shot either. DeWitt had the elbow locked, got his legs under him and elevated before releasing at his apex for a textbook jump shot.
“He practices those shots every day,” Deaver said. “I told him ‘just go to the free throw line and they won’t touch you and shoot.’
“I got a little choked up.”
It’s safe to say, he wasn’t the only one, either.
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