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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, May 20, 2024
The Echo

Hubbard hangs up historic basketball career

Talent blossomed into an all-time great player

Jason Hubbard, the pride of Miamisburg, Ohio, closed out his illustrious basketball career as a Taylor Trojan. The 6-foot-7 forward cemented his legacy by becoming the program’s all-time leading scorer with 2,479 points and establishing a single-season scoring record in 2023 with 709 points.

From when Josh Andrews, 10th-year head coach, first saw Hubbard play in high school, he knew how versatile a player he already was.

“We saw the potential for his game to take off in the right environment, and really the rest was history,” Andrews said.

As a fifth-year senior, Hubbard had a career-best 55 points in a December showdown against University of Northwestern Ohio and notched a third consecutive First-Team All-Crossroads League recognition to boot. Proving his versatility, Hubbard also was given the nod to his fourth consecutive Crossroads League All-Defensive team.

In Hubbard’s final season, he tallied 23.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game and managed to score double-digit points in every game he competed.

Reflecting back on his time as a Trojan, Hubbard said his sophomore campaign was a defining year for what he would eventually become as both an athlete and a person. Andrews spoke to this, adding that every passing year was the best thing for Hubbard, because time ultimately enabled a dynamic player like him to expand his game and create new skill sets.

Hubbard said while he had high aspirations, he never once imagined becoming such a prolific scorer and program stand-out.

“It’s still surreal to me,” Hubbard said. “I still think about it from moment to moment, just the fact that it actually happened, that my name is attached to that. I can’t take credit for that. That’s by God’s hand … It’s definitely not individual representation by any means.”

Hubbard’s showcase of athleticism and elite play on the court earned him conference honors, but equal excellence in the classroom paved two straight seasons as CSC Academic All-District in 2022 and 2023. Formerly known as CoSIDA, College Sports Communicators (CSC) recognizes student-athletes’ outstanding achievements on and off the field and requires an honoree possess a cumulative grade-point average 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale. Hubbard is finishing up a bachelor’s degree in sport management and posts a 3.51 cumulative grade-point average.

Andrews said out of all of Hubbard’s many successes, he is most proud of this scholar-athlete award, because it demonstrates how far his academic development has come.

“He’s a very intellectually driven student and just really personifies what we want a student-athlete to be about at Taylor,” Andrews said. “He’s a great example to our guys; they all look up to him.”

Fellow senior and forward, Jeff Clayton, said his first impression of Hubbard was at an open gym, and he could tell right from the get-go that Hubbard was a hard worker. Amidst his freshman year, Clayton noted that Hubbard and CJ Penha, now a graduate student and player at Boston College, were instrumental in his sense of belonging at Taylor and never made him feel alone.

“He became like a brother that you can never forget about, and he’s just helped me grow faith-wise, man-wise, and he always keeps me on my feet,” Clayton said.

Those who only watch Hubbard on the basketball court see someone who is difficult to read. Clayton, however, as a long-time teammate and friend said he is truly a kind and unselfish person. Andrews backs this up by attributing humility and a deeply caring heart to Hubbard, who he thinks has a chance to play more basketball in the future

For Hubbard, the 25th edition of Ivanhoe’s Silent Night marked his last appearance as a part of one of Taylor’s favorite traditions, but was perhaps the most memorable.

One point shy of the magic 10, Hubbard’s 80.4 career free throw shooting percentage proved true, and he knocked down the basket necessary to release utter pandemonium among the onlooking student body.

“Silent Night’s been an amazing experience,” Hubbard said. “Honestly, I don’t think amazing is the right word, but it’s just been such a fun, enjoyable experience. Obviously to be able to have had that 10th point is definitely another blessing.”

Despite falling to Huntington University in his final game, Hubbard said he will remember the way they fought as a team the entire Crossroads League Tournament. Coming off a quarterfinal victory over 16th-ranked Indiana Wesleyan University, Hubbard said the opposition could not help but respect their fight.

“At the end of the day, that’s all we can ask for as senior leaders is just for us to bring that fight,” Hubbard said. “Let results be results, outcomes be outcomes. So long as we bring that fight, we can hang our hats on that.”

After a storybook career, those looking upon Hubbard will have to do just that. Respect his fight.