Amid a 17-14 season, the men’s basketball team still has hope despite a less than stellar season.
After a thrilling 88-85 victory against No. 13 Grace College, thanks to senior Mason Degenkolb’s buzzer beater, the Trojans season is still alive as they move to the semifinals in the Crossroads League Tournament.
At this point in the season, the Trojans will not receive an at-large bid to the national tournament. However, winning their conference tournament would grant them an automatic bid.
No matter what happens though, this team holds some quality players who deserve some recognition.
First, four members from the team were honored with receiving the CoSIDA Academic All-District award. Taylor led all men’s basketball programs among all collegiate levels with four awards.
The awards go out to outstanding athletes and students from each college program.
The four players include senior guards Mason Degenkolb and Ryan Robinson, junior forward James McCloud and junior guard Vincent Miranda.
“They work extremely hard and have honed the habits to find balance in carrying very hectic schedules,” said Head Coach Josh Andrews. “The level of discipline required to perform in the classroom while competing in a high level program is intense.”
While it is sad to see two great seniors leave the basketball program soon, Degenkolb and Robinson will go down in the books as two of the top scorers all-time for Taylor.
Degenkolb is currently the fifth all-time scorer for Taylor with 1,921 points. Robinson lands at tenth with 1,785 points scored, although his first two seasons he came off the bench for the Trojans.
Robinson holds a 3.54 GPA, while McCloud sits at 3.64, Degenkolb at 3.81 and Miranda at a perfect 4.0.
“Scoring the points is fun and all but I think I’m most proud that I was able to excel in the classroom during my time at Taylor,” Degenkolb said. “There have been a whole lot of late nights over the past four years and to see the fruition is definitely rewarding.”
A 16-14 regular season is not something to be applauded — although the Crossroads League is one of the toughest leagues to play in — however, these four men and their efforts on the court and off should be.
Excelling at one full-time job as a student is one thing, exceeding at that and being an exceptional athlete is another.
While team accomplishments such as making the national tournament are the most important thing, individual awards should not be overlooked.
The regular season did not go as successfully as the Trojans hoped, but let’s recognize the players who tried their hardest to keep the season going.