Cole Taylor of Andover Central received the 2017 KBCA Student Athlete Courage Award this weekend. Taylor tore his ACL in a September football game. It was only the second game of the season. Doctors told him he would most likely be required to sit out his senior basketball season.
Taylor was crushed, but he did not give up hope. He was given a 6-12 month recovery time, but was hoping to be able to come back and help contribute to the team in the postseason.
Taylor averaged 14 points per game in his junior season and helped Central to a 20-5 record and a third place finish in the 4A-I state tournament. In the 2016-17 season, the Jaguars struggled without him and finished the regular season 6-14. Just 5 months and 10 days after his surgery, Taylor was able to rejoin his teammates and drastically improve the team as he helped the Jags earn a trip to the state tournament as the team with the worst record in their sub-state tournament.
Taylor clearly lifted the Jaguar’s level of play and inspired his teammates. In the first round of the state tournament, the 8-14 Jaguars knocked off the No. 1 seed Piper who held a record of 20-2. Taylor’s no-quit attitude during his rehab and during his comeback in the postseason helped him earn this year’s award.