You have heard it before: In 49 states, it is just basketball … but this is Indiana.
The 2023-2024 men’s basketball season has tipped off. With neutral site tournaments wrapping up, the Trojans are 4-4 and 0-1 in conference play.
Beginning on Oct. 26, the Trojans topped Northwestern Ohio 83-73 due to a dominant performance from junior Anton Webb, who boasted a 26-point and 13-rebound performance.
Webb’s double-double performances would remain a common theme as Taylor would go on to torch Cleary 91-66 and take Rochester, a team receiving votes in the NAIA national poll, to a four-point loss (75-71).
Taylor’s most recent pickup from the transfer portal, senior Caleb Hodgson from Central Michigan University, began to pick up steam in the early November games. Logging 20 points and 15 rebounds in the Trojan’s 77-59 win over Washington Adventist, Hodgson established himself as an explosive scorer in Taylor’s frontcourt.
In their first conference game, Webb and Hodgson combined their efforts in the high-scoring loss as Hodgson logged another 25 points and Webb cleaned the glass with 13 rebounds.
“That loss left a sour taste in our mouths,” Webb said. “We knew we were beyond capable of beating that team.”
However, despite losing their Crossroads League opener against Saint Francis (Ind.), the night was not all gloom and doom as the team celebrated junior Kaden Fuhrmann’s 1,000th point in his Taylor University career.
As one of the team’s main offensive threats at 12.4 points per game, Fuhrmann is a piece of the five-man attack that Taylor prides itself on.
“I would say we have a lot of guys with experience which makes up more of a collective leadership,” Hodgson said.
With his role as a leader coming from his years at Division I, Hodgson provides the experience and insight it takes to win at a high level.
As for Webb, he is still astonished to even be in a leadership role.
“Being a leader this year is actually crazy to me,” he said. “Last year I was a new guy who didn’t really know much about the system.”
While Webb and Hodgson are assuming leadership roles, Taylor basketball does not have the environment of two bona fide leaders.
“This team makes it easy to lead,” Webb said. “They look to us for leadership, but at times we can learn just as much from them.”
As well as being a leader on the court, Hodgson also focuses his efforts on what is most important in life: glorifying God with his play and offering his wisdom to others.
“It is ultimately not about me,” Hodgson said, “but my goal for our team is to win the Crossroads League.”
As for Webb, he not only wants to top their conference but also hopes to make it to Nationals.
“I want to send our seniors out with a bang,” Webb said. “They deserve this.”