After pondering numerous athletic scholarship options, including offers from division 1 basketball programs in the U.S., Kimberley Taylor has made the decision to stay and play north of the 49th parallel.
Taylor, 17, who grew up in East York and recently moved to the Beach, has committed to St. Francis Xavier University, based in small-town Antigonish, Nova Scotia, after entertaining dozens of proposals both in Canada and to the south.
“I really liked the university, the community spirit,” she said on why she chose the eastern Canadian university. “Everyone in the town really supports the university. There’s a lot of pride there.”
Plus, she said, St. FX offered a specific program, Aquatic Resources with Earth Science, which she was particularly interested in. The program wasn’t offered elsewhere.
The six-foot power forward/wing attended St. Joseph’s College School where she helped lead the downtown Toronto Catholic high school to the city finals in 2012, 2011 and 2010 – earning athlete of the year honours from 2009 through to 2012. She is said to have been integral in helping turn the high school program around, something she will again be tasked with doing in Nova Scotia in the fall.
“The coach wants me to become one of the leading players there...I’m not sure how to feel about that. I just have to go out there, do my best and see what happens,” she said, noting university coach Augy Jones has also recommended her to a special leadership program being offered at the university.
Coach Jones, a graduate of St. FX and former member of its X-men basketball program, has big plans for the Toronto native, who he calls “one of the most sought after recruits in the country” this year.
“We are very excited to have a player with Kimberley’s character come into our program,” he said in an email. “When you recruit university-level players you have to see their long-term potential. Kimberley has an extremely bright future on and off the basketball court.”
With Kimberley’s height and athleticism, continued Jones, the team will likely see Taylor fill a wing position “where she can operate both inside and outside of the key area.”
“Kimberley was instrumental in the exponential improvement of the St. Joseph’s College School’s basketball program...I envision her having the same type of impact on our program,” he concluded.
The St. FX X-Women closed out their season on March 10 with a 21-10-0 record for third place in the Amateur Athletic Association.
Taylor, who began shooting hoops in Grade 4 and ultimately moved on to play rep ball with Scarborough Blues and Advantage Basketball, said there are some mixed emotions, however, with moving to Nova Scotia for the next four or five years. She will miss her friends and, above all, her parents, who, she says, have been extraordinarily supportive in helping fulfill her dreams. Her father, semi-retired, played for Leaside High School’s basketball program.
“My parents are sad that they aren’t going to be able to see my games...it’ll be interesting because they’ve always supported me, always coming to my games” she said. “They’re going to try to make it out to some of them though.”
“I think they’ll play our games online so there’ll be lots of video footage that they can watch.”