Winning the 2018 Thailand Super League’s Best Small Forward of the year award for the second consecutive year, averaging 28.6 points, 12.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists and two steals per game seems to be a humbling experience for Taylor Statham.
“I feel honored to win it back-to-back in such a prestigious league,” said Statham via text message. “Night in and night out it was a battle against some of the best players in the world. It’s just a testament to the hard work that I’ve put in. It’s a great stepping stone towards my next set of goals.”
Fighting adversity in his personal life, battling and beating cancer, as well as throughout his basketball career, Statham transferred into Golden Valley 10 years ago undersized and scared that he might not be able to get any playing time.
“I remember at 15 years old transferring into Golden Valley, I wasn’t even the best top-five player in the school. I had a dream no one else could see besides my parents and I, so I put in the hard work and made the sacrifices to manifest it,” Statham said.
Playing the game that he loves in front of thousands of fans, Statham cannot be any happier with his development.
“…This is year three for me and what I’m doing isn’t incredible for my situation, it’s incredible because of my situation. The adversity which prepared me for all of this and overcoming catapulted me to new heights,” Statham said.
Now in Thailand, Statham has traveled across the world to play the sport he loves and is excelling in the foreign land.
“I was worried when I first went out (to Thailand), but Thailand is one of the coolest places in the world. The language barrier is an issue in a lot of countries I play, but as long as you’re nice they can feel the energy,” Statham said about adjusting to life outside of California.
“Basketball is basketball everywhere, but sometimes overseas you would think it’s UFC,” he added.
Playing alongside fellow Santa Clarita natives Jawhar Purdy and Robert Looper in Thailand Statham sees a lot of talent and opportunity in Santa Clarita.
“It was great. I love playing alongside them and seeing how excited their families were, but it was short lived with Robert leaving midway through (the season) and Jawhar signing a better contract in Malaysia around the same time,” Statham said about sharing the court with the two.
Taking some time to rest after a brutal season, Statham is focusing on ways to give back to the Santa Clarita Valley.
“Right now I just want to let my body heal from the tough season for a week,” Statham said. “I’m really focused on Ball Out (a basketball training company) and the Creators (a travel ball program) and helping our players get to college. We’re setting up college visits for more than a handful of our players over the next week and developing our guys and gals who are coming back from college or overseas.”
The Creators was started last year and develops kids with little to almost no experience playing basketball.
Winning countless tournaments The Creators are well on their way to be in the ranks of an elite travel program.
“I’m just excited to get home and not celebrate the little success I’ve had, but to build on it and help players from all over achieve their dreams.”