FCT Scholar-Athlete of the Week
BELGREEN – Not many basketball players can play through something as painful as a fractured hand, but Belgreen junior Taylor Hester knew he didn't want to watch his team play from the bench.
Hester, a wing player and point guard for the Bulldogs, played two months this season with a hairline fracture in his right hand after injuring it in a game against Phil Campbell Nov. 15.
"I fractured it during the second game of the season. I went to the ER the night after the injury happened and the doctor thought it was broken. But then I went to the Bone and Joint Clinic and they said it was just a fracture and that I was cleared to play if I wanted to, so I just taped it up because you can't wear a cast on the court," said Hester, who is righthanded but learned to adapt to the injury. "It hurt a little bit but after Christmas it started to get better, and I got my shooting touch back."
Hester has also played varsity baseball, but his favorite sport has always been basketball.
"I've probably been playing basketball since I was big enough to pick up a ball. I played baseball last year, but right now I'm going to just play basketball," said Hester, who grew up watching former Bulldog basketball stars T.J. Bragwell and current Belgreen coaches Wes Hester and Kelli Gilbert.
"We have a really good tradition here with teams that have gone to state – it was exciting to watch the girls team win state in 2002 because it was the school's first championship."
Hester's coach describes him as more than just a good basketball player.
"He's an exceptional young man with high character because he is very respectful and polite, and he puts others before himself, which is what stands out the most about him," said Belgreen boys coach Wes Hester.
"Taylor's not one to crave the spotlight, even though he has the ability to get a lot of the limelight. We look to him as a leader both on and off the court, and he's one of the guys everyone looks up to."
Off the court Hester ranks among the best in his class with a 96.42 average and serves as the junior class vice president. He also belongs to several clubs at Belgreen, including the Envirothon Team, FBLA, Beta Club, Beautification Club, SADD, Scholars Bowl and Optimist Club.
Despite being only a junior, Hester has already chosen a career path.
"I want to major in pharmacy so I'll probably have to go to Auburn – I'm not really happy about that because I'm an Alabama fan, but sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do. But I'll probably go to Northwest-Shoals to get my basics out of the way," said Hester, who called math and science his best subjects. "I've known I wanted to be a pharmacist since I started thinking about college, and it's something I've always wanted to do even though no one in my family is a pharmacist."
To relax, Hester enjoys basketball, spending time with friends and watching movies.
"I like coming up to the school and shooting basketball with my friends or going to watch basketball," said Hester, who named Sam Presley as his funniest teammate and classmate. "I also like going to the movies and just hanging out with friends. My favorite movies are action comedies, like the 'Rush Hour' movies."
He is the son of Steve and Vickie Hester and has one older brother, Jacob, 21.