Coach Cleezy recently caught up with Obama Academy's Taylor Stewart, a senior who played on the girls basketball team, to talk to her about her commitment to Lincoln University and her future plans on and off of the basketball court. According to Stewart, her journey from her freshman year to her senior year taught her how to become a person of strength, patience, and faith.
"When I came in as a freshman,I was a bit of an underdog," said Stewart. "A lot of people didn't pay a lot of a attention to me and the same thing happened during my sophomore year as well. I was humble about it and just kept working hard and being patient and that led to me making a huge statement my junior year. I worked my butt off all that summer and ended up having an exceptional senior season and that led to my team winning a fourth (Pittsburgh) City League Championship, championship MVP and being one of the top players with the most double doubles in the city. I learned that if you're not grateful and you don't put in the work everyday in the position you're currently in, you'll never get to where you want to be."
Stewart had a few options but decided to commit to Lincoln University. Lincoln is a Division II basketball program located in Pennsylvania. Stewart talked about what lead her to committing to Lincoln.
"I committed to Lincoln University because I feel like it gives me a sense of comfort like a second home," said Stewart. "It's a place that'll provide both amazing academic and athletic resources for me to become a better player and student. Most importantly,my mother and sister both attended and graduated from Lincoln University. The coaching staff is the best. They have immediate plans to make me an important part of the system. I'll be playing both the small forward and power forward position. I'll be playing on the wing and I'll be a mismatch for the bigs (power forwards). When I get to Lincoln, my plan is to just work hard and make an immediate impact on the team. I want to help the team accomplish our goals."
Stewart, who will be a third-generation member of her family to attend Lincoln University, talked about what she plans to major in once she gets there.
"My majors at Lincoln University will be Bio-Chemistry and Molecular Biology. I plan on going to dental school after undergraduate school." Stewart also has another lofty goal in mind. "I'm striving to become being one of few female African-American Orthodontist," added Stewart.
With her journey at Obama Academy coming to a close and another one about to begin at Lincoln University, Stewart gave thanks to everybody who has helped her get to where she is today.
"There were a lot of people who played their part in helping me get to where I am now. My high school coaches (Coach McCoy, Coach Marissa and Coach Dap) played a big part in my success by pushing me these last four years and just helping me improve at learning the game. I'd like to thank one of the most important coaches in my life, Coach Nika, because she's the one who basically put the basketball in my hands and supported me through everything. Of course, my parents played the biggest role in just supporting me and being my biggest fans. My mom has been my rock through everything from taking me to every practice, to AAU tournaments, driving hours just to make work outs and even playing the role as a coach at times. My dad and my family as a whole were my biggest supporters."
Coach Cleezy and Scout Penn Preps wish Taylor the best of luck at the next level.