Douglas High’s Taylynn Kizer signs to play basketball at Knox College
Playing collegiate basketball has always been a dream of Douglas High senior Taylynn Kizer.
In early January, the lone Tiger senior made that dream a reality, signing on the dotted line to continue her basketball career at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
Knox College participates at the Division III level and plays in the Midwest Conference alongside other programs from Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.
The opportunity for Kizer came after playing in various states, including Illinois, this past summer on her AAU team, Jam On It, based out of Reno.
For Kizer, who has grown up with a basketball since she was five, earning a spot on a college roster was the ultimate destination.
“That was my biggest goal,” said Kizer of playing basketball collegiately. “Honestly, it didn’t really matter the division for me. Just the fact of playing that got me excited.”
The road to commitment
As Douglas High’s only senior, Kizer was tasked with a leadership role this season she wasn’t necessarily expecting.
Initially, Kizer thought she’d have other seniors alongside her this season, but once she realized she was it the Tiger guard stepped up.
“I feel like I’m the mom,” laughed Kizer. “I feel like I need to know where all of them are. I know some of them look up to me so that’s kind of nice to have.”
While being tasked with a leadership role, the newest Knox College commit was still working her way back into being 100 percent confident on the floor.
Kizer opted to not have surgery after a partial ACL tear and meniscus injury her sophomore season, pushing her into rehabilitation.
Even during her junior season where she averaged 9.5 points and nearly four steals per game, Kizer said she could tell she wasn’t playing with her same level of confidence on the floor.
“During my junior year, I was nervous, you could see it getting back out there,” Kizer said, even after playing in 22 of 23 games that season. “It took a while because I didn’t get surgery. I had to build muscle and it was like starting all over again.”
The cautiousness that she played with her junior year subsided after a summer of AAU basketball and some advice from her coach Sharice Green.
Kizer’s style of play is based off her youth and where she grew up learning the sport of basketball.
Growing up on the Dresslerville Indian reservation, Kizer learned a style of hoops call “RezBall,” short for Reservation Ball.
It’s a brand of basketball predicated on passing and speed, putting pressure on opposing teams by continually running the floor.
“My tempo, that’s the biggest thing,” said Kizer of her biggest attribute on the floor. “It’s a faster game. When I first came up and played, I had to get used to plays and slowing myself down because RezBall is you pass it and run.”
The stylings are evident in Kizer’s game with her ability to quickly fake out opponents on hesitation moves, following with a drive to the basket or a shot from beyond the arc.
With her college aspirations official, Kizer’s focus has turned to continuing to push Douglas into the playoffs for the seventh straight season and being a role model for her teammates and family members.
“I just want to be somebody that my brothers look up to,” said Kizer of her three brothers Daron (age 12), Noah (11) and Harston Dondero (8). “I just want to be somebody that represents the community.”