Polk State team captain balances books, business & basketball

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

For Polk State Basketball forward Carson Beisner, the strength of his game is his shooting range. His range, however, extends well beyond the court.

Beisner, 20, was named a team captain prior to the season. A 6-foot-7 native of Fort Myers, Beisner is one of just three returning players from last season.

“It was definitely a great feeling to be named a captain,” Beisner said. “It shows that the hard work has paid off for me. It also shines a light on what I’ve done outside of basketball. Being a captain was one of my goals after last season.”

Through 25 games, Beisner hasn’t put up huge numbers this season for the Eagles. His voice, however, is one that reverberates with teammates.

“He does absolutely everything the right way,” Head Coach Brandon Giles said. “He takes care of his three Cs – classroom, character, and on the court. He’s a true student-athlete. Carson has great self-discipline and holds himself accountable in every aspect of his life.”

An FCSAA and NJCAA All-Academic team selection for the 2022-23 Academic Year, Beisner holds a 3.75 cumulative grade-point average. After receiving his Associate in Arts degree over the summer, Beisner is already working toward a Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management at Polk State.

“Guys gravitate to him,” Giles added. “He’s always checking on his teammates. No matter what personal success he has, Carson wants the team to be successful. He has a great business-savvy mindset. He’s a winner.”

For more than a year, Beisner has owned his own apparel business, THEPRJCT – pronounced The Project – which he runs primarily online at www.theprjct.co. With more than 500 items sold, Beisner sells polos, compression athletics wear, business uniforms, and more for both men and women.

“My guarantee is that if you want something made, I’ll figure it out,” he explained. “That’s why I call it ‘THEPRJCT.’”

Beisner admits that he’s learning on the go when it comes to running a business but already has some notable successes. Beisner designed the team warmups for the Cypress Lake High School varsity baseball team back in his native Fort Myers. Recently, business savvy content creator Ricky Zollinger wore one of Beisner’s polos during his podcast.

“I’ve always liked business,” Beisner said. “My mom’s whole side of the family is full of entrepreneurs. I chose apparel because it’s something I could do while playing basketball and going to school.”

For the sophomore forward, there is some overlap between his two passions. Beisner tries to combine the skills he’s learned as a business owner and major to become a better leader on the basketball court.

“Being a business owner has made me a better communicator,” he said. “That definitely translates onto the court.”

After an 11-18 finish to the 2022-23 season, Beisner has tried to help this season’s team learn from last season’s mistakes. Still alive for an FCSAA Tournament spot, Polk State has already surpassed last season’s win total.

“My biggest goal is just to keep us all together,” the sophomore forward added. “I didn’t realize how important team chemistry was until last year. We’re all college athletes, so we’re all good to some extent. For us to accomplish our goals, we have to do it together.”

Although the 2022-23 season wasn’t one to remember for Polk State on the court, Beisner took lessons from his older teammates. Last season’s team captain, George Pridgett, taught Beisner how to be a leader. Jaelin Simpson, a guard from last season’s team, is also a business owner and the two stay in touch to discuss business ideas and marketing strategies.

“George was a really good leader and mentor for me,” Beisner noted. “He worked hard every day. Through him, I learned how important it was to be locked in at practice.”

Throughout the course of the academic year, Giles invites accomplished guest speakers to talk to his team. The goal is to give players unique perspectives and life lessons they can use on the court and beyond. No one, Giles said, follows up or is as engaged as Beisner.

“What’s so impressive about Carson is how he invests in himself – his health, his wellness, his game, his career,” Giles noted. “He’s used his experiences to hold his teammates accountable.”

Entering Saturday’s game back in Beisner’s home town of Fort Myers against Florida SouthWestern State College, Beisner ranks sixth on the team in three-pointers made. The team captain closed January with career-highs of 16 points and 13 rebounds in a 123-77 win over Rising Stars Academy.

“The best thing about basketball is game day and it always has been,” Beisner noted. “I want us to do well for Coach Giles. Knowing what his dad accomplished here really motivates me to do what I can to help us have success here.”