Locating Kyle Stidom at Taylor University’s annual boys basketball camp in June shouldn’t be difficult.
Simply look for the largest cluster of kids.
“The little guys just flock to him,” third-year Taylor men’s basketball coach Josh Andrews said. “Kyle has a good presence about him and is a great ambassador for our program.
“He’s such a quality kid who brings great energy every day.”
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A graduate of Greenwood Christian Academy, Stidom, a 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior capable of playing both guard positions or small forward for the Trojans, saved his best for last by averaging team-highs this season in both points (18.9) and rebounds (6.1)
He also is second on the team in two other key statistical categories, assists (2.3) and steals (0.9), as sixth-seeded Taylor (14-16) travels to No. 3 Bethel tonight in the first round of the Crossroads League Tournament.
Stidom would like to make his third and final season at Taylor last as long as possible by leading his team on a postseason run.
If anyone is capable, it’s Stidom, who didn’t play at Taylor as a freshman but has accumulated 1,534 points since transferring from Davenport (Michigan) University in August 2013.
Stidom’s 18th on the Trojans’ career scoring list.
“I feel good about where I’m at and where we’re at as a team. We’re definitely peaking at the right time, and individually I’m trying to do my best to instill confidence in all of my teammates,” Stidom said. “If I can do that we’re a very dangerous team.”
Taylor won five of its final eight regular-season games. In the victories, Stidom averaged 24.6 points, 6.2 boards and 2.4 assists.
The Trojans scored an 84-79 upset against then-fifth-ranked Bethel on Dec. 1 but got crushed in the rematch, 89-68, on Jan. 30 on the Pilots’ home floor.
Johnson County’s all-time high school career scoring leader, Stidom transferred to Taylor from Davenport to be closer to family and friends, but credits his one year at Davenport for forcing him to quickly mature.
“My freshman year really shaped me into the basketball player and person I wanted to be. My faith was kind of my parents’ faith, but when you’re alone you have to make it your own,” Stidom said. “Everything fell into place after that.”
One of Stidom’s close friends and former teammates, Davenport’s 6-5 senior swingman Dominez Burnett, is on course to becoming a three-time First Team NAIA Division II All-American.
Stidom has carved a similar statistical legacy at Taylor.
“I’m proud of the journey. The process,” Stidom said. “When I transferred there was a lot of uncertainty, but my goal was to come here, work real hard and help get Taylor’s storied tradition back on top.”
THE STIDOM FILE