By Dominique Vinas
It’s every 22-year-old’s dream to be established and have a set plan after graduation. Some are lucky enough to have it all figured out before then. Jaleel Taylor, communication studies major at Kean, is already halfway up the ladder of success. Not only is he a full-time student, he is a professional arena football player for the ASI Panthers in Philadelphia, PA.
That’s not the most impressive part. What makes this student and athlete all the more noteworthy is his most recent accomplishment: becoming a coach for his very own non-profit organization that he founded, the AAU basketball team called “The Jersey Heat”. Jaleel is enjoying his passion for sports and helping people all at the same time and this is very rewarding for him.
“I started this for the inner city teenagers in high school in New Jersey to help motivate and help them become better men and help them get into college,” Said Taylor. “one way by doing that is through the sport of basketball.”
Part of being a part of an AAU league is traveling. The reason for this is so that the players’ talents are seen and Jaleel, along with the other coaches, teach them building skills that facilitate team work.
“This is important to me because teenagers in the inner cities are getting caught up in the wrong things, we have more teenagers in the streets than in the classroom,” Said Taylor.
Taylor is willing to do whatever it takes to change that; for three years now he’s been running this and has had the privilege of putting 14 of his players into colleges on athletic and academic scholarships all over the tri-state. His aspirations are endless. Taylor is focusing on graduating with a BA in Communication studies and is trying as hard as he can to speed up that process.
“While being a full time student and traveling to Philly and coaching my non-profit Organization is a lot I have no time time for myself,” Taylor admits. He’s currently waiting on a phone call from an NFL team on draft day but if that doesn’t work out he always has his communication degree to fall back on.
“I would love to stay involved with sports whether that’s being a sports broadcast journalist or coming back home to coach my high school and to continue coaching my Non- Profit. Org,” said Taylor.