Hillcrest High School graduate D’Juan Taylor always liked sports, but they gave him more than fun memories and athletic accolades this year.
His academic achievements and commitment to athletics won him $22,300 in scholarships, which Taylor will use to attend the University of Oklahoma.
Among Taylor’s six awards were the competitive Nancy Lieberman and Dallas Mavericks scholarships.
The Mavericks winners were invited to a game, where Taylor took a selfie with Mark Cuban.
“It was pretty fun,” Taylor said. “At halftime, we got to go down to half court and got honored with our scholarships.”
Taylor played basketball, baseball, golf, and varsity football for Hillcrest and was an active member in the academic service organization Key Club. When he visited OU his sophomore year, he knew it was the school for him.
“I just got a feel for the campus – it stood out to me,” he said. “The people are very friendly up there, and their history with athletics is also a plus.”
Taylor transferred to Hillcrest from Lincoln High School after his freshman year and was reluctant to play football at first.
But during his senior year, he joined the team as cornerback and it was decision he did not regret – especially when the Panthers went 9-1 in the regular season and reached the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
“It was honestly one of the best experiences of my life with the guys,” he said. “This year, we played Woodrow Wilson on their homecoming, and we beat them pretty bad. That was a pretty exciting moment.”
Taylor said that his time at Hillcrest made him feel ready for college; rigorous courses prepared him for university academics, while working with teammates through sports taught him skills for interacting with others.
“It’s pretty exciting finishing one stage of your life and conquering another,” he said. “I’m excited about meeting new people from different places, joining different clubs, and networking with people, so when the time comes for me to graduate, I’ll have jobs lined up.”
As for his future in athletics?
“I would like to play a sport up there,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”