6-10 forward/center commits to sign with Tide

Dooly High School (Vienna, Ga.) forward/center Shawn Taylor verbally committed to the University of Alabama basketball program late Sunday night.

Taylor, who averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and 11 blocks as a junior last year, chose Bama over Cincinnati, Georgia, Miami (Fla.) and Florida State. Kansas and Tennessee also showed interest in him.

Taylor said the biggest reason for choosing Bama was the fact that the Crimson Tide will lose two starters from its front court following this season.

"One of the main factors (in choosing Alabama) was playing time," says the 6-foot-11, 220-pound Taylor. "It was just a perfect fit for me."

Assistant coach Philip Pearson was the major influence in Taylor's recruitment. Taylor said Alabama was the first school to ever express interest in him and Pearson's relationship with him and his family swayed him towards Bama. Alabama started recruiting Taylor at the beginning of his sophomore year, he said.

Taylor is the third verbal commitment Alabama has received for its class of 2003. Stone Mountain, Ga., native Jermareo Davidson and Tallahassee, Fla., product Akini Adkins have already verbally announced plans to attend Alabama next fall.

Alabama will lose out-going seniors Erwin Dudley, Terrance Meade and Kenny Walker to graduation following this season, opening up three scholarships.

Alabama coach Mark Gottfried is expected to sign four in this class if Florence, South Carolina, native Major Wingate (6-10, 245) or Parkway Christian (Birmingham) senior James Lang (6-11, 310) are influenced to join the Crimson Tide.

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