Medina to ’Nova
By this time next year, Taliyah Medina will have gone from Golden Hawk to Wildcat as the Bethlehem Catholic senior guard signed a National Letter of Intent on Nov. 13 to play basketball at Villanova University.
With parents Linette and Jose on either side of her, Medina signed her letter of intent in front of a roomful of family and friends at Coordinated Health in Bethlehem.
“Villanova is a good fit for me. It’s close to home and because I’m so family-involved it only made sense that I stay close to home,” Medina said. “Their style of play fits me. I could see myself playing with them. They’re all players like me, kind of swing players who can handle the basketball, who can shoot the three, who can do a little bit of everything.”
Medina explained how she built a relationship with Villanova basketball coach Harry Perretta and the Wildcats by attending camps there and Villanova Hoop Mania over the years.
“Definitely, I’ve been going there for quite awhile. They’ve been recruiting me since I was in eighth grade,” she said. “I love the coaching staff. They were so nice to me. They came to my games, and they stuck with me throughout my process of being injured.”
Medina recalled the day she tore her ACL, June 25, 2018, when her leg buckled after taking a step back during a game. The tear came just 48 hours after she returned home from a mission trip with her church to Guatemala.
“I saw what others didn’t have and how happy they still were,” Medina said. “I didn’t have the chance to be devastated because of all the support I had.”
Medina’s doctor at Coordinated Health, Dr. Nicholas Slenker, said that what stood out to him was that Medina’s injury wasn’t going to get her down.
Jose Medina, also the girls’ basketball coach at Becahi, was adamant that his daughter’s rehab was going to be done right and in as much time as was necessary for full recovery. That meant Medina would have strength and conditioning training at Coordinated Health, three to four times a week for nine months.
It also meant Medina would sit out for all but a few seconds of the 2018-2019 basketball season her junior year. Those few seconds came at the end of Becahi’s state championship victory in March 2019.
But Medina’s therapist, Kaley Russin, said that when Medina was at her lowest point, she overcame so much with a smile on her face.
“Everyone has contributed. Every drop counts,” said Jose Medina as he spoke to family and friends prior to the signing. “Words of encouragement at the right time in the right context.”
Now recovered from her injury, Medina and the Hawks are set to open their season on Dec. 10 at home against city rival Freedom.