Golden Hawk Taye Donald’s reign of the 2023-2024 basketball season

Laurier men's basketball player

Laurier is no stranger to impressive student-athletes adorning the purple and gold. However, sometimes, a notable Golden Hawk takes their league by storm.

Taye Donald is a 6’2 third-year basketball guard who took a leap this past OUA season and became one of the best university players in the province.

Following last season, where he was named an OUA second-team all-star, he has been named as part of the first time this past season. Donald has also gained national attention, named as the U SPORTS second-team All-Canadian.

Long before the first game of the season, a summer full of intense training and juggling job responsibilities served as preparation for Donald to manage academic responsibilities and his basketball schedule.

“A lot of it started before the season,” Donald said. “It’s just staying consistent. Maintaining that level.” With regard to this acknowledgment on a national scale, Donald noted the role head coach Justin Serresse played.

“It’s something I talked about with my coach when I first got recruited here. We had a goal and a vision of where I wanted to be in my years here at Laurier. Right now we’re on track,” he said.

While Donald saw improvements in most areas of his game, the most notable statistic was his points per game numbers, which improved from 15.1 to 21.3. That increase in PPG sets Donald as fourth in the OUA.

Serresse cited Donald’s work ethic and commitment to becoming a better player as key reasons for his impressive play.

Donald’s leadership abilities have also played a massive factor in the team’s development.

“We call him the heart and soul of the team. He’s passionate, he plays both ends as well, and at the end of the day, the team will always rally around him,” Serresse said.

It’s just staying consistent. Maintaining that level

Taye Donald, Golden Hawks Basketball Player

Donald led his team to second place in their conference and the playoffs. Despite being eliminated in the OUA quarter-finals, Donald proved his talent throughout the season.

“Taye brings on that pride, that work ethic, that toughness,” said Serresse. “Leaving everything on the floor – that’s the type of leader he is, and we’re grateful to have him.”

“[Serresse] and I communicate on and off the court at all times. Having open door communication was huge,” said Donald.

By season’s end, Donald found himself in the OUA top ten in multiple statistics. Aside from the aforementioned PPG he’s also fourth in minutes, free-throws made and overall points.

Impressively, he’s also sixth in the league in both assists and steals. He shot efficiently throughout the season, shooting 44 per cent from the field and sinking 34 per cent of his 3-pointers.

“He can do it all. He can shoot it, finish at the rim, and draw fouls; he has an in-between game. You don’t get U SPORT second team without being talented,” said Serresse.

Serresse acknowledged that next season will likely be challenging, similar to a rebuild. Still, he and his Golden Hawks aim to reach the national championship.

For this to be achieved, Donald must, once again, take a massive leap forward.

“If we are going to reach our goals, Taye is going to have to be MVP of the league. He’s going to have to lead the country in scoring and lead the OUA in scoring. That’s a lot to ask, but that’s how much I believe in the player,” said Serresse.

Donald is a player dedicated to self-improvement. While ascending the league and becoming an MVP-caliber star is a tall order for any player, if anyone can do it, it’s certainly Taye Donald.

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