Justin Wheeler promotes sports teams with highlight videos

Violet Kemperman

More stories from Violet Kemperman

Old made new again
May 25, 2022

Grace Montgomery

WHEELER’S REELS: Junior Justin Wheeler records highlights at the Give and Glow basketball game.

With his hood up, junior Justin Wheeler keeps a low-key appearance as he circles the basketball court. With a camera in hand, his eyes stay locked on the game. Diligently, he gathers all the highlights of the plays.  No matter what happens, Wheeler stays focused and is ready to record. 

Back and forth. 

Back and forth.

He is constantly moving and devoting himself to getting the perfect shot. He’s there from start to finish. His main focus is on recording the game.

Wheeler’s mission is to create video reports for sports teams at Grand Haven Highschool. Using his lens to highlight members of the team, while he continues to fuel his passion. 

“I love making the videos to create better bonds with the athletes. Making these videos has been a passion of mine for a while and creating videos for the teams is a great way to give back to the players and all the hard work they’ve put into the sport.” Wheeler said.

Wheeler started by making videos of his friends skateboarding and taking a photography class at school. From there, he grew a passion for being behind the camera. He posts his sports videos on Instagram and from there they gain popularity.

Using his charming and laid-back personality, Wheeler is able to get an inside scoop on the athletes and their team. As he joins the group along their athletic journey, he creates close bonds and friendships with each player. It’s almost as if he is a member of the team. 

Greg Immink, head coach of the Boys Varsity Basketball team, has only positive things to say about these videos. 

 “He’s got a passion for video and does a really nice job. He’s been to several different events for several different teams,” Immink said, “it’s a nice way for him to serve the other students in the building and help promote them and their passions.” 

Wheeler may be new to making sports reporting videos but, with the help of friends on the teams, he has gained VIP access to practices and sports events. From the competitive games to the grueling practices, he covers it all. 

Since he has been able to make close friendships with the athletes, Wheeler wants his videos to be for the players and their fans. 

Wheeler has been focusing on volleyball, soccer, and basketball, with the occasional recordings of other sports as well. He’s been attending games, regardless of whether they are home or away. With a camera in hand, he’s ready to record. 

His recordings have empowered and encouraged the teams to play to their best ability. With that extra online audience, the videos bring in. 

“I know we play harder. We put up better defenses and move the ball better,” Junior Harrison Sorrelle, guard for the Boys Varsity Basketball team said, “it’s infectious in a really positive way, It feels good to be doing something that you love and that someone’s filming it and overall feels good.”

To get close up high quality videos, Wheeler has collected equipment over the years to make that happen. For such precise recordings, his setup is quite simple. 

He uses a Sony camera with a monitor screen on top, with two handles on the side. All together his film rig is almost $1,200. 

Luckily, everyone has been supportive of him, he’s received encouragement from friends, peers, and teachers. 

A few team members have gotten feedback from peers that have watched Wheeler’s videos.

“It creates more hype around us and the basketball team, especially with several videos.” Sorrelle said,  “It does create more excitement for the season.” 

Teachers have expressed positive affirmations after watching the videos. Immink is impressed with Wheeler’s work and the impact it has had on the school community.

“It’s really neat that he’s taking this time to go out of his way and lift up other classmates in the building and help promote the passions of other people. That’s really selfless work and it’s a really cool thing.” Immink said.

Wheeler uses his sports highlight videos as a way of creating personal connections with the players on the teams. He wants to continue making videos for a hobby right now and eventually pursue it in the future.      

He’s been looking into colleges for his future in the sports report industry. Most recently, he’s been interested in Grand Valley State University. He would love to do sports videos for either minor or major league teams.

Wheeler is eager to learn more and is excited to show off his talent and the talent of the athletes. He encourages others who are interested in making sports reports, to take a chance and try it out. 

“You don’t have to have a super nice camera or anything. You have to walk out there and start a little bit at a time, even if you don’t feel comfortable around the court or anything, you can stay in one spot and film. It’s just a lot of practice. The more you practice, the easier it gets.”

You can find Justin Wheelers videos on Instagram @itsjustinwheeler.