Gahanna Lincoln sophomore-to-be Stevie Taylor is one of the rising stars on the state’s basketball scene.
Taylor may only stand 5-8, but he has helped lead his Ohio Basketball Club to no fewer than three major AAU tournament victories this year.
The OBC team, which also features the state’s top 2011 prospect in Cincinnati Aiken power forward Chane Behanan, won previous 15-and-under events in Pittsburgh and Chapel Hill, N.C., before claiming the title last week at the It Takes 5ive event in Cincinnati.
“We won the Pittsburgh Jam Fest and the Tournament of Champions in North Carolina,” said Taylor, rated as the state’s No. 3 prospect in the 2011 class. “That was one of the best experiences I’ve had in my whole life. I just tried to soak that up and do the best I could.”
Taylor and his OBC team, which also includes Liberty Twp. Lakota East forward Kirby Wright (No. 5 in the state for 2011), understand they are targets for opposing teams that want to make a name for themselves.
“When everybody is gunning for you and you have the best team, that makes it kind of intense,” Taylor said. “But I love those types of games, so that’s fun.”
Taylor has built a reputation as a strong ball handler. He takes pride in his ability to beat pressure and find his teammates in position where they can score.
“I don’t look for my points,” Taylor said. “I am a pass-first point guard. I am going to try and get my shot up if it’s open. If it’s open, I’m going to try and knock it down. But I don’t try to shoot first. I try to pass it to one of my teammates. That makes me look good and makes them look good.”
Taylor has already played one full season of varsity basketball. He joined his brother, Rob, on the varsity squad at Gahanna. Rob Taylor was a first-team all-district pick in Division I as a senior. Stevie Taylor was an honorable mention all-district pick as a freshman as Gahanna posted a 15-6 record.
“That was fun,” Taylor said. “My brother would yell at me. He would get frustrated sometimes and yell at me. But I knew it was for the best for me and I didn’t try to yell back.”
With Rob Taylor graduated, Stevie Taylor said he is looking forward to being a leader on his high school squad.
“Now, it’s kind of like my team,” he said. “It was my brother’s team last year and I had to kind of play second fiddle. Maybe it will be my team this year and I just have to be ready to play.”
With three years of high school ball remaining, Taylor is slowly starting to gather information on colleges. Akron was the first school to come through with a scholarship offer.
“I have some letters from a lot of colleges,” he said. “I’m hearing from Tennessee, Georgetown, Ohio State, Xavier, Cincinnati and some others. Akron has offered.”
For the rest of the summer, OBC was set to play in events at Morgantown, W.Va., the Super 64 Showcase in Las Vegas and the Double Pump event in Los Angeles.