Student athletes receive hard-earning scholarship

Junior Jayden Taylor has been playing basketball since he was five years old. 

Now, the colleges he watched as a youngster have come calling for him.  

Taylor has verbally committed to play at Butler University on a full ride scholarship. Butler was the fourth and final offer he received, but he knew from the moment Butler offered that it was going to be the best fit.

“They’ve been with me since my freshman year, recruiting me, watching me,” Taylor says Taylor. 

He also sees his years of basketball  as a way to be able to repay his family for everything they’ve done for him. 

“I feel like this is the easiest way to do it,” Taylor says. “It’s what I’m best at. I think I can make a lot of money doing it.”

Taylor’s first recruitment came from IUPUI after his last basketball game as a sophomore.  

“For my first time being recruited, it was kind of nervous but really I just played my game–did me,” Taylor says. “When you think about it, you get nervous, but when you don’t really think about it, it’s fine, you just play.”

But Taylor felt at home saying yes to Butler, as he knew the university would allow him to grow more academically  and playing basketball. The coaching staff connected with him, making him feel like they’re family.

“I just knew Butler was the right place,” Taylor says . “I could’ve waited for more, but I just knew Butler was the right place, and I loved it.” 

Senior Conner Woods was close to quitting baseball just a couple years ago. Now, Woods is committed to playing in college for Indiana Wesleyan University. 

Just a few years ago, before Jacob Banwart became the head baseball coach at PMHS, Woods was questioning his loyalty to the game. He, for a time, was simply playing baseball in order to receive a scholarship. He had lost the passion in the game he loved after years of hard work and multiple injuries. 

He lauds head baseball coach Banwart for “making me love baseball again. . . and make me realize that I do want to play college baseball.”

As Woods entered his senior year he didn’t know when to expect any scholarship offers and where he would be attending.

Woods recalls that it’s a “funny story” of receiving the call from Indiana Wesleyan. He has played baseball all of his life, waiting for a call like this.

“The first time I got it I was extremely ecstatic, and I was about to take the offer immediately,” Woods says.

 Indiana Wesleyan was already on his list of top colleges, and Wods was eager for the opportunity, although it didn’t go exactly as planned.

“The coach and I had a misunderstanding on the numbers, and it was a huge bummer.”

Luckily, this didn’t stop Conner from getting the scholarship he wanted, and he continued negotiating. 

“Once we finally got there, it was more of a matter of being relieved than anything,” Woods says.

His relief cannot be understated, as the stress of choosing a college has been lifted off of his shoulders. 

“Now I can just focus on having fun in my senior year,” he says. 

Woods credits  his parents for helping to “deal with the tension in the household” during his decision-making process.” Now that he no longer has to deal with the burden of decision, Woods looks forward to continuing his success in high school and beyond.