By: CASEY MCDONALD
Transitioning from high school to college athletics can be a hard for some students, but one freshman athlete is already dazzling on the court.
IU South Bend guard Taylor Wesley is a from South Bend. While starting varsity all four years at Washington High School, she received the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association player of the week, second team all conference for two different seasons, and was part of the conference championship team in 2015.
Majoring in mass communications with a concentration in public relations and minoring in business, Wesley has done more than just keep up with her grades. Sitting the bench for most of the fall semester due to injury, Wesley put up a career-high 21 points in the Titans game against twenty-second ranked Olivet Nazarene University in one of her first games back from winter break. In that game, the 6-foot guard was 60 percent in the paint and 50 percent at the line. In her last five games, she’s led in total points for the team three times, including games against nineteenth-ranked Cardinal Stritch and conference leader St. Francis.
She wouldn’t be here if it were not for the help of her teammates and coaching staff.
“Coach Bruce and the upperclassmen are very caring,” Wesley said. The coach also makes sure the team stays above the line and “give 110 percent” when they step out on the court, she added. The upperclassmen make sure everyone has a lot of energy. “I love how Courtney [Smith]”—who is one of the captains—“gives me advice before the game,” Wesley said. “It really helps me out and it makes me get those nerves out of my system. So I appreciate that a lot.”
Some say inspiration is key when putting your best foot forward, and when it comes to Wesley, that inspiration comes from her parents.
“I [would] really like to be as successful as them in the future. They make sure not to just focus on basketball because academics come first.”
The Titan’s father played division one basketball at Ball State University, so he knows the mentality of college ball very well.
“He always trains me to be the best I can be. My mom is also very supportive and makes sure that I always believe in myself, and [she is] always there to give good advice,” Wesley said.
As a student, she plans to get her degree and walk across the stage. As a student athlete, she said that she “really would love to make the 1,000 point club.”
With already 100 points this season and plenty more games to go, it could happen.
Doing things on and off the court makes certain student athletes stand out from the rest. Wesley, along with helping lead her team in points, also leads other students who are looking for academic help. A peer mentor at the Titan Success Center, she thoroughly enjoys helping others out and being supportive. “I also enjoying volunteering in my spare time. I feel it’s always important to give back to others and your community.”