Even though he was hellbent on not letting a serious knee injury rob him of his final basketball season at Kokomo High School, Tayler Persons saw a nod to the Indiana All-Star team as a longshot at best.
But, just like everything in else in the last eight months, Persons overcame the odds, returning for the second half of the Wildkats’ season, where he played at a level which almost made those in and around the program forget he was ever injured.
Thursday, the culmination of a great comeback season — and great career — came full circle as Persons was selected as an Indiana All-Star, the 17th Wildkat boy to earn the honor.
“It means so much to me,” Persons said. “I think I proved to a lot of people that if you work hard, you can come back and have a great year. When I got hurt at the beginning of football season, I didn’t think I would be an Indiana All-Star even if I got back. I am just so blessed to have the opportunity to represent Kokomo and the state of Indiana.”
For Persons, the nod comes after a career in which he scored 1,131 points, leaving him eighth in program history despite missing 12 games of his senior year.
“It’s a very-well-deserved honor for him,” Kokomo coach Brian McCauley said. “In my opinion, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better individual story in the state of Indiana this year than Tayler Persons, the way he was injured and was able to come back in 4.5 months, and then to play at the level that he played at.”
The Northern Kentucky University recruit averaged 18.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 steals in his abbreviated 12-game senior campaign, but the nod to the All-Star team was just as much a career honor for the 6-foot-2 guard, who helped the Kats to an 81-19 record, four sectional crowns, two North Central Conference titles and the Class 4A runner-up finish as a freshman in 2011.