The last time I saw Texas A&M sophomore Shane Vinsant he was lying on a table in the trainer’s room at the Mitchell Tennis Center hooked up to an IV.
Aggie teammate Jeremy Efferding was hanging around anxiously outside the door, peaking in through the small window, concerned about Vinsant’s well being.
It was not a pretty sight.
Having said that though it had been worse moments earlier when it was difficult to watch Vinsant attempt to fight through cramps in his legs to somehow carve out the winning point against California in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Vinsant had been having trouble for much of the hot and humid day and after attempting a couple of overheads in the third set of the deciding match he could barely make it back to the baseline to start the next point.
Despite that he had taken a 3-1 lead in the set.
But even the most optimistic Aggie fan could tell it wasn’t going to last.
Vinsant’s body was beginning to shut down and the cramps in his calves were affecting the control he had of his upper body.
Vinsant lost the set 6-3 and the Aggies lost the match 4-3.
Seconds after the final point, Vinsant was on his back, which is where he stayed while California’s Campbell Johnson quickly came around to congratulate, console and convey his well wishes.
I mention all the above because less than 10 days later he was back on the court in the singles competition of the NCAA Tournament in Athens, Ga., where he was lone Aggie of six to win a match.
He won two matches, including coming back from 5-0 down in the first set of the second round, advancing to the Sweet 16 and claiming a well-deserved All-American status.
Vinsant had won 13 straight matches during the regular season, many in the tough Southeastern Conference, before succumbing to cramps that day against California.
He had moved up to No. 22 nationally.
And yet the thing I took most from interviewing him for a feature story before the California match was he’d have given up all of those individual accolades to have had his legs for that final set of the Aggies season-ending team match.
With Vinsant, his doubles partner Harrison Adams and all but one player returning next season, A&M coaches Steve Denton and Bob McKinley should be eager to make another run at a regular-season SEC title and defend their SEC tournament crown.