SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- Asia Taylor -- Triumph over adversity.
( We continue our look at the 2012-13 University of Louisville basketball team with a look at senior Asia Taylor today.)
The world was looking pretty bright for Asia Taylor in February 2009. She was averaging 29 points a game at Columbus (OH) Whetstone, was a top 25 recruit and headed to final four bound University of Louisville.
But, in the space of a few seconds, calamity struck. An broken tibia and dislocated ankle injury that had her sidelined for the rest of the season.
"It was devastating. Basketball was my life. I couldn't imagine not playing." Taylor recalls.
A long rehab process that had her arriving on the UofL campus less than 100%. Trial by fire on a short-manned UofL squad that had her on the court for long stretches against more experienced and talented opponents. The ups and downs of being a freshman.
But there was no "quit" in her. A dedication to getting better. Continued determination to improve her skills in the game she loves.
She remained an important role player through her sophomore and junior years. The talent displayed in her high schools days began to re-surface. The ankle was getting better, the BIG EAST opponents were seeing the board-dominating, inside-scoring and lock-down defense night after night and she was assuming a leadership role with a young bunch of Cardinals that were jelling. She was the second leading rebounder on the 2011-12 squad.
Then, things changed again.
A sore hip in June 2012 after a day of individual practice. Continued pain the next day. Diagnosis, scans and the determination that surgery would be necessary. Another roadblock in the path.
Some players don't come back from hip surgery. Some find their skills diminished and are never the same.
Asia Taylor will survive. She'll be back, full of the same fight and desire.
Just one day after surgery, making an apperance at an Elite skills camp on crutches. No sitting around feeling sorry for herself. Basketball is her life. There was basketball going on. She was going to be there.
And when she returns, she'll be a working cog in a UofL front line machine that is as strong and deep as it has been since Jeff Walz arrived on the UofL campus.
There are bad breaks in life. The true test is how you comeback from them. Fight or flight?
Asia Taylor is a fighter. Asia Taylor is a conqueror. Asia Taylor is a survivor. Time and time again. She probably won't join the 1000-point club at UofL. Most likely won't receive BIG EAST All-Conference awards her senior year. But, she's made a mark on the UofL womens' basketball program. And, will continue to.
If you "google" the word Dedication, though, we'd like to see a picture of her come up next to the definition.
She's earned it. And keeps on earning it. Dedication to the team. Dedication to the cause.
Those of you who know me know that it's no secret she's my favorite player on this UofL team. Has been since she got on campus. I've seen the young lady who loves Disney movies and ham and pineapple pizza grow into a confident, self-assured woman who produces, writes and stars in her own videos. I may never be able to walk in Kroger again without chuckling when I walk down the cereal aisle. Video below.
A Tayy31 goes shopping
My heart beats a little faster when she scores, enters a game, grabs a rebound. I groan just a little when she turns the ball over or fails to block out. Rejoice in her triumphs and share the sadness when things don't go so well.
It's the final go-around for #31 as a college basketball player. But far from the final impact that A-Tayy will have on the world she encounters after graduation.
Go get 'em, A Tayy!
Have a super Sunday readers and...L1C4 !
THE TAYLOR TIMELINE
Games Played Games Started Points Rebounds Avg
09-10 31 10 133 82 4.3
10-11 31 18 120 103 3.9
11-12 32 20 180 152 5.6