St. James senior Mallie Taylor was looking for a college to continue her studies. It just so happened she found a school where she can play basketball as well.
Taylor signed a letter of intent on Wednesday to play basketball at Birmingham Southern, unexpectedly matching her academic and athletic dreams at the collegiate level.
“Whenever someone asked me if I was going to play basketball in college, I said I’m going to decide the college I want to go to first and if they give me the opportunity to play basketball, that’s just a great addition,” she said. “I am really excited. It really happened perfectly, that I got a school that I really loved and I got an offer I couldn’t turn down.”
Taylor, who plans to major in film and media studies, said a visit with Panthers coach Mike Ricks convinced her to accept the offer.
“My mom kept telling me but I always thought I didn’t really want to go to Birmingham Southern,” Taylor said. “I thought I’d go to UAB or somewhere else. Then we decided to go on a tour. I got to talk to the coach the same day. Just the atmosphere, it just felt right and I really enjoyed everything they said and they had to offer.”
St. James coach Katie Barton said Taylor is the kind of player every team needs to complement their lineup.
“She’s been around my program a long, long time,” she said. “She started out at the Y and we’d go see her play and she would play with Annie Skoneki there and before I know it, she’s in junior high. She’s one of those kids that constantly gives, gives, gives, gives. She’s going to put in the work in the gym that she needs to do to be successful, but success isn’t just based on how great of a player you are, it’s also based on how great of a person and the type of impact you can have on a program. And that’s what Mallie has done here.
“She’s been a great player but she’s also been a great person who has given of herself and made an impact on my young kids coming up. She’s touched a lot of people here through basketball and her leadership and I have a feeling she’ll end up going to Birmingham Southern and doing the same thing.”