Athlete standout in baseball, basketball


For The Tribune

Tiller Cummings said he began playing basketball and baseball at an early age in Seymour, so it was an easy decision for him to continue both sports upon entering Seymour High School.

In basketball, Cummings said he enjoys playing both ends of the floor.

“On offense, I do my best to see the floor and just try to get the best shot possible,” he said. “Not necessarily (the shot) for me but for the team on every possession, try to make sure we get the most out of it and get the best look at the basket.”

His high-point game last year was 12 against Jennings County, and he scored 20 his sophomore year against Madison.

Over time, the forward/center has developed his skill set.

“Even though I’m right-handed, I’ve started to go left more as my career has gone on,” Cummings said. “If I’m going to shoot outside of 5 feet, it’s usually midrange. I might shoot the 3 every once in a while and hope it goes in. I’d rather go up against man. I feel like zones are harder to play against.”

Cummings has grown to 6-foot-6.

“I’m not the best jumper around, so I’ve learned to get position early (for rebounds), and I’ve learned the bigger you are, the more likely you are to get a foul called on you, and you’ve just got to be careful what you are doing,” he said.

“You can’t go over the back of people. You just can’t bully people around because they will call fouls on you. You’ve just got to be careful what you’re doing and be smart about it and focus on your fundamentals. That’s how you win, when you’re bigger than everybody.”

Under coach Tyler Phillips, the Owls have made a concentrated effort to play solid defense.

“We’ve made that a real emphasis this year,” Cummings said. “In practice, we work every day on defense for a long time. We put in a lot of work on defense, so we’re hoping that shows in games.”

This year’s roster has seven seniors, and Cummings feels there’s a lot to be excited about this season.

“Everybody is super-focused this year,” Cummings said. “It’s super-high-intensity stuff. There’s not an easy day. We’ve got some really high expectations as players. The coaches do, too. We’ve set our goals high. We expect to win a lot of games this year. We know we’ve got some tough competition when it comes to conference, the nonconference games and sectional. It’s all going to be tough.”

This winter, Cummings is a team captain.

“It’s always great to know your coaches trust you that much and that you’re going to be a leader for your team,” Cummings said. “It’s great to know people are going to be looking up to you.”

The Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium is a special place for Cummings.

“It’s awesome getting to play here,” Cummings said. “Just wearing ‘Seymour’ across your chest is an honor itself. It’s awesome to get to represent the whole city. Every time you put it on is a great feeling, and to come out and play in one of the best high school gyms in the whole world makes it even better and play in front of your friends and family and people you’ve grown up knowing.”

Cummings also is expecting a lot of victories in baseball this spring, where he will pitch and play first base.

“As much as people don’t think so, (first base) is a pretty important position on the field,” Cummings said. “A lot of people think all you do is catch a ball at first. You’ve got to cover bunts, you’ve got to relay throws in from the outfield, you’ve got to be communicating with the entire infield on what you’re doing every play. It takes somebody with a lot of knowledge of the game to play first base.”

Cummings said he tries to mix up his pitches when he is on the mound.

“(I) typically (throw) fastballs, curveballs, a change-up every once in a while,” he said. “There are a lot of pitches I can throw OK, but for the most part, I stick with those three.”

He said getting ahead in the count is probably the most important facet of pitching.

“Once you get behind, unless you’ve got some crazy good stuff, you’re in trouble,” Cummings said. “If you get down 1-0, then suddenly, you’ve got to start throwing strikes. and it makes your ability to play around with pitches and where you’re going to place the next pitch a lot harder.

“You get the guy down 0-1, suddenly, you’re in control. You’ve got some pitches to play around with, maybe bury a curveball in the dirt and see if he’ll swing at that. Pitching is definitely my favorite part of baseball. It’s been my favorite part since I was a little kid.”

Cummings also is expecting a good season with the bat.

“We’ve already started talking, and we’ve got high hopes,” Cummings said. “We’ve got a lot of people coming back and new guys coming in who have been playing baseball for a long time. We think it will be a special season.”

He said communication is essential in both sports.

“Communication in all sports overall is key, team sports anyway,” Cummings said. “If you’re talking and everybody knows what’s going on, you’re in a lot better position to win than if you’re just going out there and not saying much.

“The mental side is harder to deal with than the physical side sometimes because you get that pressure of trying to make a free throw. You’ve just got to collect your thoughts and cool yourself down mentally and believe in yourself and believe in your team.”

He has enjoyed attending Seymour High School.

“I’ve had a lot of good friends, a lot of good teachers, too,” Cummings said. “It’s been a real good time, and I’ve really enjoyed it. The classes they offer here are definitely challenging but also rewarding. Overall, it’s been a great experience.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Cummings file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Tiller Cummings

School: Seymour High School

Parents: Reuben and Robin Cummings

Siblings: Delaney and Cali

Sports: Basketball, four years; baseball, four years; football, one year

Athletics highlights: Basketball 2016 all-county

Organizations: Student government, Riley Dance Marathon

Plans after high school: Attend Purdue University

Favorite food: Fettuccine Alfredo

Favorite TV show: “The Office”

Favorite musician/band: Migos

Favorite movie: “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”

Favorite teams, athletes: Purdue Boilermakers, Indiana Pacers, Chicago Cubs, Kris Bryant


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