Editor’s note: This story is part of a series of features on DeKalb County student-athletes who received Bryant-Jordan Foundation scholarships. A total of 56 seniors in the AHSAA were selected in each category from nominations submitted by member schools. Eight students, one from each district in each of the AHSAA’s 1A through 6A classifications, and four students in Class 7A will receive $3,000 scholarships for their selection. The Bryant-Jordan Awards program, named for legendary coaches Paul “Bear” Bryant and Ralph “Shug” Jordan, was created in 1986 by the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in conjunction with the AHSAA. Sylvania senior Logan McCullough was selected for 3A, Region 7’s achievement award.
SYLVANIA — When the Sylvania boys basketball team graduated 11 senior players from last season’s team, there was a lot of inexperience to make up for during the 2020-21 season.
But through all the ups and downs, Sylvania boys coach Tyler Brooks relied heavily on two returning players from the previous season to help provide some experience of playing in high-profile games.
Senior Logan McCullough was one of those players.
“We leaned on Logan a great deal because he had split duties running the point for us,” Brooks said. “It was a huge help to have someone who had played in those big games in years prior. We leaned on his competitive spirit and grit as well.”
The Rams earned the No. 3 seed in the Class 3A, Area 14 tournament and finished the season with a 79-47 loss to eventual-3A state champion Fyffe in the semifinal round of the tournament at Mike Cochran Gymnasium in Fyffe on Feb. 9.
McCullough scored 17 points and Clayton Wilks chipped in nine points for the Rams in the season finale.
“The record really didn’t show what we put into the program, but we really came together,” McCullough said. “We knew what was at stake, losing a bunch of seniors and a bunch of experience, but just having everybody out there wanting to work and knowing we could work, we did the best that we could, even if the scoreboard didn’t always say so.
“It was more fun than anything. I loved being out there with them. It was probably my favorite group.”
Brooks said from the first time he and assistant coaches Derek Talley and Gary Talley began working with McCullough, he became “one that we could depend on to go get a loose ball or get to the rim for a bucket.”
“His ability to get to the rim improved greatly over the last two seasons, and obviously, along the way his maturity improved greatly from Day 1,” Brooks said.
Brooks said he liked the way McCullough committed to doing things. He said the young athlete was always upbeat and energetic while learning or competing and always gave his best effort every time he stepped on the court.
McCullough didn’t start playing basketball until he became a seventh-grader. He said his family’s finances prevented him from participating in youth athletic programs before then.
The Sylvania senior said he attended school at Fyffe from kindergarten through seventh grade, before moving in with his mother the summer before his eighth-grade year and attending Henagar Junior High School. He began his high school career at Sylvania High School.
McCullough has played football, baseball and tennis while at Sylvania. He’s also a member of the Beta Club, a youth leader in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and secretary of his senior class. Outside of school, he is a youth leader at Stamp Baptist Church.
Being selected as his region’s Bryant-Jordan achievement award-winner was emotional for McCullough.
“I was overcome with a lot of emotions, joy mostly, because it’s a big achievement for my family and myself just to even be in the conversation for the Bryant-Jordan award,” he said.
McCullough said his experience of playing sports for Sylvania High School will be something he carries with him for the rest of his life.
“It was great to have a community behind you and knowing that going into every game,” he said. “It was great having teammates have your back throughout the season, especially this season. With all of the uncertainty, we really pulled together and formed a brotherhood that I’ll cherish for a lifetime.”
McCullough said he has an interest in pursuing teaching and coaching after high school.
“It makes me happy to think that our coaching staff had a great impact on our players,” Brooks said. “Coaches Derek and Gary Talley were a huge help with the impact that was made on our players in our program.
“...I think Logan will bring a lot to the table when it comes to helping coach and teach young people the game of basketball or just life in general. He has persevered through many tough situations in life and it helps lead young people in the right direction when you have a resume of beating tough odds. At the end of the day that’s what it is all about and I think Logan has chosen a great career to pursue.”