Taylor Schildroth looked right at home over the weekend, knocking down 3-pointers from the same Cross Insurance Center basketball court where he helped George Stevens Academy of Blue Hill win three straight Class C state championships between 2016 and 2018.
But while the three-time Bangor Daily News All-Maine choice was a leader of his high school team, these days he’s merely trying to find his niche as a walk-on freshman guard at the University of Maine.
“Overall, the last two or three months have been fun,” the 5-foot-10 Schildroth said. “It’s been a rollercoaster, but it’s been pretty much what I expected. It’s a lot of hard work. It’s a grind. I feel like I’m doing a lot, but I could be doing more. Everyone could be.”
Schildroth came off the Black Bears’ bench to play nearly 24 minutes Sunday as UMaine scored a 70-63 preseason victory over McGill University of Montreal.
Schildroth made two 3-pointers and also contributed a rebound and an assist. He committed no turnovers.
“Taylor got the opportunity because some of the guys who were playing weren’t doing what they needed to do,” UMaine coach Richard Barron said. “Sometimes it’s by default that you get out there, but he made the most of it.”
Wearing the UMaine uniform has been a goal for Schildroth since his junior year at GSA, but the road to the Black Bears’ roster was circuitous.
He originally hoped to earn a basketball scholarship, but when that didn’t work out he enrolled last fall at The Nation Academy in Florida. There he reclassified as a senior and played basketball until he left after an audio clip became public in which the school’s CEO, Maine native Mike Woodbury, unleashed a profanity-laced tirade against one of his teammates.
The 19-year-old Schildroth briefly attended a Connecticut prep school, but returned home and enrolled at UMaine for the 2019 spring semester.
Less than a year later, he’s back to pursuing his college basketball dream.
“It was just humbling because I kind of thought I knew it all, I guess, and I was trying to go get a scholarship,” he said. “Then some things happened at one school and the other school just wasn’t the right fit, so I came home.
“When I left here the goal was to be able to get back here in a better spot, and even though it was not the way I planned, I’m just glad I stuck with it and that coach Barron took notice.”