As a junior, Persons became a stat-sheet stuffer. He averaged team highs of 17.4 points, 4 assists and 2.9 steals per game and also averaged 5.7 rebounds per game. The Kats went 22-3 and won their second North Central Conference title in three years.
Persons’ senior plans hit a bump in the road with the football injury, but he quickly settled into his spot in the lineup and he reached a milestone along the way. Persons scored the 1,000th point of his career against Logansport on Feb. 13 at Memorial Gym.
Persons is the 12th boys player from the city of Kokomo to reach 1,000 career points in 111 years of basketball.
“There are so many great players in [Kokomo’s 1,000-point club]. To be a part of that, it feels awesome,” he said. “I think it shows all the hard work I’ve put in. Coming back from this injury, I knew I had to push myself and work hard, but that’s how I’ve always approached things, working as hard as I can.
“I’m so proud to be a Kokomo Wildkat. It’s something I’ll always remember. It’s just amazing to be able to play for your home city and your hometown and be able to see all the fans who support me. I know my family loves coming to watch. I think of all the good players I’ve played with and my coaches all through the years. Hopefully we can make another run deep in the tournament and go out on top. That’s my plan.”
McCauley said Persons has left his mark on the program.
“He is one of the best players to ever play for Kokomo High School, but he’s been fortunate to be on outstanding teams and that’s been huge for him,” McCauley said. “You couple the fact that he’s an outstanding player and he’s had great teammates and that’s why we’ve had so much team success during his four-year career.”
1,000-POINT CLUB The 12 boys basketball players from the city of Kokomo who scored 1,000 career points: Player Points Class Jim Ligon 1,900 1962 Jimmy Rayl 1,632 1959 D.J. Balentine 1,280 2012 Tim McFarland 1,270 1976 Brad McNulty 1,199 1972 Charlie Hall 1,163 1974 Ron Hughes 1,134 1961 Bruce Rose + 1,124 1970 Brandon Wood 1,114 2007 Tayler Persons 1,079 2014 Brad Sebree ++ 1,076 1990 Geoff Shuck +++ 1,055 1971 Note: The 3-point line was added in the 1987-88 season. + Played at Kokomo and Haworth. ++ Played at Taylor and Kokomo. +++ Played at Haworth.