Persons, Cardinals bring fun to basketball at Ball State

Ball State's Tayler Persons (2) celebrates as he exits the court following an NCAA college basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, in South Bend, Ind. Ball State beat Notre Dame 80-77. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — “I just try to go out there and every time I shoot, I feel like it’s going to go in,” said Tayler Persons.

Ball State basketball has been anything but boring this season. From gaming winning three’s to knocking off ranked teams, Persons and the Cardinals have brought a lot of fun to Muncie. 

“Well, my phone was going crazy. I almost had to get a new phone. No, I’m just joking! It was messing up a little bit! It was getting a little slow,” Persons said.

The redshirt junior pulled off a feat most athletes only dream of. Hitting game-winning three’s in back-to-back games. One to beat Valpo. The other to knock off eighth-ranked Notre Dame.

“I don’t want every game to come down to a buzzer beater, but I’m just happy to get that win,” Persons said.

“He plays with incredible confidence and he’s a good player. You know, he can create his own shot when he needs to. He’s the right guy to have the ball in his hands and he’s delivered,” James Whitford said.

Persons has definitely filled Worthen Arena with a lot of excitement this season. He said this is one of the best team’s he’s been on chemistry wise since arriving on campus — a tight-knit group due to tragic circumstances that occurred at the beginning of the school year.

“That’s the thing. Taking each day and living it to the fullest. Because you never know when you’re going to lose somebody,” Persons said. 

“We continue to have a tough struggle with losing a loved one. Everybody in life goes through it,” Whitford said.

Redshirt freshman Zach Hollywood committed suicide in August — a tragedy that left his teammates and coaches with a lot of questions. 

“We’ve all really had to rely on each other to deal with the grief and deal with the loss. But, I do think that has brought us closer together,” Whitford said.

“I’ll never be over it. But I feel like our team’s doing a good job just still knowing he’s an angel watching over us,” Persons said. “I’m playing every game the rest of my life for him.”
Honoring a teammate by continuing to play the game they all love.