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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Echo

Webb brings grit, grind and hustle to Taylor basketball

Junior forward leads the Trojans across the board

As the end of another season of Taylor basketball wraps up, things may change internally for the program. With the recent departure of now-former coach Josh Andrews, the players are now motivated to work harder than they have before, bettering themselves before the new head coach is announced.

Of those players, two returning stars share memories of this last year. They are juniors Anton Webb and Kaden Fuhrmann. Both saw increased action offensively and defensively, as they became the leaders running the Trojan lineup.

Webb’s path to Taylor was far different compared to other athletes. He started his first two years of collegiate ball at a Division II university, before moving to Lewis and Clark Community College.

During the recruitment process, he found himself on a college visit to Taylor. The more he walked around the campus, the more he fell in love with the idea of playing for the Trojans 

As time went by, he started to get more comfortable with the team. He recalls 16-hour weeklong practices in the summer trying to build chemistry. From that point on, it was about learning how to play in actual games together.

“It’s something you gotta get used to,” he said. “It took some time.

The biggest learning curve for Webb was having to get used to playing alongside former Trojan Jason Hubbard (‘23). The now-graduated forward is considered by many to be the best basketball player that has ever come through the program. It was a learning experience for the new transfer but set him up for improvement.

In Webb’s first year at Taylor, he averaged just under a double-double, going for 9.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

This past year, he achieved a double-double campaign (12.9 pts, 10.4 rbs), while also shooting near 70 percent from the free throw line, a 20 percent increase. He garnered 14 double-doubles, and became the first men’s basketball player in 50 years to average over 10 rebounds per game.

“In the offseason, I had to step it up more,” he said. “I wanted to hold myself accountable, lead by example…The team needed me more. I had to be more than what I was.”

In Webb’s first game this year against the Northwestern Ohio Racers (83-73) he scored a career-high 26 points and gained 13 rebounds. He was named a Crossroads League Honorable Mention at the end of the season.

Fuhrmann’s first couple of interactions with the transfer, he was impressed with his athleticism. He liked Webb’s team attitude. He was vocal and a great leader.

They both knew that in the absence of Hubbard, they had to step up. Knowing how good Webb could be, Fuhrmann saw budding potential.

“Just having a guy out there who could have the crowd rocking at any moment, it’s just awesome,” Fuhrmann said. “The more he improves, the better our team is going to improve. I love playing with him.”

Fuhrmann has also had a much better year, playing in an extra five games compared to his sophomore season. Last year, he was injured for a large part of November. He turned it around this last season, playing nearly every game, averaging over 14 points and shooting 35 percent from behind the arc.

Fuhrmann not only looks to Webb as a focus of efficiency but the entire team as well. He believes the surrounding cast can also make a difference in gameplay.

“We have phenomenal players around us,” he said. “As returners, we know it’s our duty to come back and step it up offensively and defensively. We’re gonna have to step it up so that everyone else can follow along.”

As the junior duo reflects on the past season, they see so much adversity yet so much success. As they lean into the offseason, they’re only looking to improve. With the right coach, the core pieces, and advancements in their athleticism, the men’s basketball team looks up with high optimism for the next season.