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SOUTH OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Every college basketball champion has to overcome adversity in order to win. One of Baylor’s round ball heroes has the vision to excel, even if his body doesn’t.

There’s no secret about one Johnson County family’s love for college basketball, especially the Baylor Bears, and their seven-foot center, Isaiah Austin.

Austin recently shared his secret. He’s been blind in his right eye since the eighth grade, when he re-injured a previously detached retina he’d suffered as a grade school ballplayer.

“He said, ‘Mom, I think I dunked so hard, I’m seeing red,'” Lisa Green, Austin’s mother, said.

Green and her family recently moved from the Dallas area to South Overland Park. She remembers four operations meant to restore her oldest son’s sight, but in the end, a prosthetic eye was needed.

“Isaiah had to re-learn to shoot because of depth perception,” Green said. “When he shoots a three-point shot, or he’s at the free throw line, that’s all muscle memory.”

And the family didn’t tell a soul, until earlier this year, when the Baylor sophomore went public.

“All the critics were like, ‘Wow, we didn’t know what we were talking about a couple of years ago when we were shooting him down,'” Noah Green, Austin’s brother, said.

A berth in the Final Four is a mere two victories away for Isaiah and his Baylor teammates. Green says that would be huge for this family – not only for the accomplishment on the court – but as a display to the masses that a disability doesn’t have to be a limitation.

“It’s going to be so inspiring for all those people,” Lisa Green said. “I feel like the only thing that can hold them back is a bad attitude.”

And come what may, this player has success in his sights.

Baylor will meet Wisconsin this Thursday evening in Anaheim, Calif. The winner of that game will advance to the tournament’s Elite Eight.

Former Raytown South Cardinal Ishmail Wainright also plays for the Bears.

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