Former Wildkat and Cardinal Tayler Persons signed a one-year contract to play basketball professionally in the Netherlands last July, and according to the player, it’s been going well.
After graduating from Ball State in the spring of 2019, the 6-foot-3 point guard signed with an agent and waited to find a deal with a league overseas. Finally, Persons’ agent found him a deal in the Dutch Basketball League with the Zorg en Zekerheid Leiden basketball club, and the rest was history.
“It’s been amazing. I have no complaints here. The country is amazing. I love living here … I get to show my capabilities as a player. They let me play free, and I get a lot of opportunities. So, it’s been great for me playing against some good competition and get my exposure out there to other countries and all across Europe. So, it’s been a blessing to be able to be here from my first year,” Persons said.
Playing basketball in another country has been an adjustment, the starting point guard said, as the game is much different than how he was used to playing in the United States. One main difference he noticed was the game defensively is more physical than in the U.S., meaning the referees don’t call as many fouls, according to Persons.
With a current 13-man roster, the team is made of a variety of players. The men range in ages from 18 to 35 and come from an array of countries including the Netherlands, the United States, Suriname, Kenya, and Croatia.
Whenever Persons has spare time away from basketball, he spends most of it relaxing, he said. With a rigorous nine- to 10-month season, Persons said he wants to make sure his body remains healthy and rested for practices and games. However, he has done some sightseeing, he said, traveling on his bicycle or by train to the nearby city of Amsterdam.
“There’s more bikes than cars over here, which is pretty cool … I think it’s pretty cool because I’m with their culture of riding bikes. So, I try to fit in a little bit. I just relax … I’ve been to Amsterdam, which is only a 30-minute [ride] from here, which is an amazing city. It’s so beautiful there, a lot of great buildings to see, a lot of different things,” Persons said.
When asked how long he plans to continue his basketball career, Persons said he will continue to play as long as his body and God will allow.
“I don’t ever want to stop playing. I love it so much. I feel like a lot of people don’t get to do what they love as a job, and I get to do that every day. I’m very grateful for that. I don’t ever want it to end,” Persons said.
Depending on how far the team makes it into postseason, Persons could see a return to the City of Firsts as early as May or June. He plans to take a short break from playing basketball to give himself time to recuperate before looking for another opportunity to play elsewhere. After being away for several months, Persons said he is looking forward to spending time with his family and friends.
“I miss everybody back home. I definitely hope that I’m making people proud from over here all the way back in good 765-Kokomo. I rep that city. I love it. It’s what made me who I am today along with the people in it … So, I can’t wait this summer to get back and be able to see everybody. I miss everybody and I love them,” Persons said.