Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana


March 5, 2014

'A true Wildkat player'

Persons hopes to cap Red and Blue career with tourney run

Tayler Persons has scripted one of the best stories of the boys basketball season with his sooner-than-expected return from knee surgery and with strong play upon his return.

The Kokomo Wildkat standout and Indiana All-Star candidate has surprised many with his comeback — and has surprised himself a little, too. He is averaging 18.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in a heavy workload of 27 minutes per game.

“It’s just unbelievable,” he said. “Honestly, I knew I could get back, but I thought I’d be able to come back and play 15, 20 minutes a game — not be able to come back and play the way I’ve been playing. I think I’m just blessed by God. I’m thankful for everyone that is believing in me and my great doctors and therapists. But it’s just unbelievable being able to come back and making the contributions that I’m making right now.”

Persons tore an ACL in a football game on Aug. 30 and had surgery on Sept. 17. Rehabilitation from that type of surgery often takes 6-12 months, but Persons returned to game action in 4 1/2 months. He made his season debut against Anderson on Jan. 31. He had 16 rebounds, seven rebounds and three assists in a 68-48 victory.

The Northern Kentucky recruit followed with several more strong performances including a 27-point game against Logansport and a 25-point game in a 51-50 victory over Fort Wayne Northrop.

“Everywhere I go, someone is telling me that I got back fast and that they can’t believe I came back this early,” Persons said. “I wouldn’t say I’m 100 percent yet, but I’m pretty close. I just have to get certain things back like jumping. I think everything else is there.”

Kokomo coach Brian McCauley deeply appreciates Persons’ commitment to the Kats.

“It’s just an outstanding story,” McCauley said. “The work ethic and dedication he had coming back ... and then to come back and not only play, but play at the level that he’s playing at is really a testament to his toughness and what type of person he is. He could have easily decided to rehab and just prepare for his freshman year at Northern Kentucky, but that is not what he wanted. He is a true Wildkat player and he wanted success for his team and our community. To come back and help our team improve, I’m thankful for him and his teammates.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • SPT - KT072514 Colts-pic After transition year, Colts' Richardson is up to speed ANDERSON — Last year Trent Richardson must have felt like the lead character in Robert A. Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land.”On Sept. 18, the Indianapolis Colts secured the services of the Florida-born running back from the Cleveland Browns. He

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT072214 - B1 briefs - mug Sports briefs for Friday, July 25 Kokomo's Tionna Brown posted the fastest time in the 100-meter dash preliminaries in her age division Thursday at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympic national meet, and had the third-fastest in the 200 semifinals.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Post 6 rolls in regional opener The Kokomo Post 6 senior baseball team took care of business in its postseason opener Thursday. The Sixers hit Cicero with an early flurry and went on for an 11-2 win in the regional opener at Centerville High School.

    July 25, 2014

  • SPL - KT072414 - Post 6 preview - pic It's tourney time for Sixers A quick glance at the stats of the Kokomo Post 6 senior baseball squad gives a clear insight into why the Sixers are 23-5 heading into the postseason. The Sixers boast small ERAs from the pitchers, a defense that commits just more than one error per game, and high batting averages.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sports briefs for Thursday, July 24 Kokomo's Tionna Brown had a strong debut Wednesday in the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships. Brown competed in the prelims of the 200-meter dash in the girls 11- and 12-year old division. She won her heat with a time of 25.60 seconds — the best time of the 61 participants in her age division.

    July 24, 2014

  • SPL - KT072414 - Another Colts for web - pic COLTS: Team getting healthy as camp opens ANDERSON — Reggie Wayne's arrival Wednesday in an IndyCar driven by two- time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter Ed Carpenter drew national attention. But the most important news coming out of reporting day for the Indianapolis Colts concerned the wide rec

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT072414 - KT Colts - pic COLTS: Wayne arrives in style for camp Ed Carpenter woke up to rain Wednesday morning and briefly worried his big opportunity might be lost. But the two-time Indianapolis 500 pole-sitter's fear proved to be unfounded. He delivered Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne safely to Anderson University at the wheel of a two-seat IndyCar.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT072314 - Colts - pic COLTS: It's time to go to work There's a different kind of buzz surrounding the Indianapolis Colts as they prepare to report for training camp today at Anderson University.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPL - KT072314 - Western basketball - pic Panthers' Balentine working to get back to his best Western boys basketball standout Des Balentine looked right at home in Richard R. Gymnasium as he went through some shooting drills Tuesday afternoon.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • SPL - KT072314 - Ken de la Bastide column - pic DE LA BASTIDE: Brickyard has many contenders Before the winner of this Sunday’s Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway gets the chance to kiss the bricks, media members will be complaining about the race.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos