2005 Focus: Hyman Taylor

No one really knew about Hyman Taylor two years ago - and for good reason. The 6-foot-9 Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) shot-blocking junior was a foot shorter back then.

When Hyman Taylor left for Jamaica two summers ago, as he has done nearly every year, he was a sub 6-foot soccer player who never gave basketball a thought. He left Florida looking up at his father, but returned looking down.

In the span of 16 months, Taylor grew from 5-foot-9 to 6-foot-9 - a remarkable 12 inches.

``I had never played basketball, but since I grew so much, I figured I'd put it to good use," said the 6-foot-9, 210-pound Taylor.

Taylor played sparingly at Upperroom Christian Academy (Fla.) during his sophomore year, but things didn't really start to get going until he transferred to Cardinal Gibbons prior to this season.

``When he first got here, he was really raw," Cardinal Gibbons assistant coach Jona Elisco said. "We really weren't expecting anything from him, but he picked up his game so much."

In just the third game of the season, Taylor swatted 17 shots.

After that, the word started to get out. Taylor broke a bone in his left hand about a month or so into the season and was sidelined for about three weeks. However, he put the time off to good use.

``It was really a blessing because he started doing everything right-handed," added Elisco.

Virginia Tech has already been down to watch him three times and the Hokies wasted little time extending him an offer. Florida is also intrigued. Kentucky and Virginia also comprise the list of schools Taylor likes at this point.

Taylor, a 3.0 student who wants to major in engineering, is still a work in progress. He averaged 15 points, 10 boards and 5 blocks per game, but still needs to work on his outside shot and picking up the nuances of the game. However, he's got plenty of potential – and that should have plenty of college coaches knocking on his door this summer.

``I just want to keep getting better," Taylor said.

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