WEST VIRGINIA (WDVM) — “Dedicated, faithful, leader, persistent.”

These are the words to describe senior Isaiah Horner. He is exactly what pops up in people’s heads when you think of a student who pushes through challenges, especially his own.

“Isaiah is a kid who played basketball all his life he has a full basketball court in his backyard he went through two years of Covid then found out that he wasn’t going to play his senior year his varsity year,” Jen Miller said.

For many school athletes, playing in their senior year is the most important time in their athletic career. But, unfortunately, last summer Isaiah was told he needed a knee surgery that would eventually put him out during his senior season.

“It affects me mentally and physically, it hurt not being able to play the game that I love and do every single day basically and it taught me a lot,” senior Isaiah Horner explained. “It told me to stay strong in the weak moments, but again, to be there for other people.”

Despite his injury, Isaiah showed up to every practice and found himself coaching from the sidelines as well as cheering and encouraging his team to the West Virginia state tournament

“Obviously he was depressed, he works really hard, so not being able to play is really difficult for him,” varsity coach, Derek Besile explained. “But, the silver lining of it was he still stayed with the team.”

While recovering from his surgery he made sure to stay present in his leadership role on and off the court by helping improve his other teammates.

“He just told me things I needed to do better, or things that I wasn’t doing and he was always on me, just like another coach and I knew it was just constructive criticism,” teammate Jordan Holmes said. “He meant good, so it really helped me out all that all throughout the year.”

“On the bench, he was always like the one that was standing up all the times he was the one that was loudest on the bench,” teammate Calvin Klebner said. “Let everybody know what they’re doing wrong with what needed to improve on what they were doing good and he’s the most vocal leader on the team for sure.”

Other than leading his team he also is enrolled in college classes, holds a high GPA, and is a member of the fellowship of Christian athletes as well as other school organizations.

“Well he’s an excellent student in the classroom, and he studies the game, so he’s a film guy. He’s always trying to learn on the basketball floor and he has a very high basketball I.Q, he does a great job in the classroom. So that’s what you want from a player, you obviously want to be good at basketball. You want to be an example in the classroom and he is that,” Besile said.

Isaiah plans to attend a community college and continue playing basketball after graduation.