Bloomington – One day in Bloomington made a big impact on Class of 2011 point guard Stevie Taylor.
The 5'9", 140-pound point guard from Gahanna, Ohio, was one of approximately 90 preps from around the country who were in town over the weekend. Like the others, Taylor had a chance to get an up close look at the Hoosier program, and the Indiana staff had an opportunity to take a closer look at him.
It appears both liked what they saw. The Indiana coaching staff has asked the dynamic point guard to return in the coming months for some unofficial visits, and Taylor plans on taking them up on the offer.
"My eyes were really opened to Indiana basketball," Taylor said. "I'm from Ohio and I really didn't know about Indiana like that. I knew they were a good program. But being there and having that experience with Coach (Tom) Crean, it was unbelievable."
Among the things Taylor enjoyed the most was the chance to meet and work with former IU legend Isiah Thomas. In addition to working with Taylor during the station workouts, Thomas was also his team's coach during the afternoon scrimmage sessions.
"It was great to get to learn the game from a guy who in my eyes is the best point guard to ever live," Taylor said.
Taylor was impressed with Thomas, but the admiration was apparently mutual.
"He told me I need to get bigger, but that I have the explosiveness and the quickness that he had at my age," Taylor said.
In his first year at Gahanna-Lincoln, Taylor was already putting those skills to good use. He averaged 12.1 points, 3.5 assists and 2.5 steals while starting alongside four other seniors, including his older brother Robbie who was a first-team All-District pick after averaging 20.0 points/game.
After a very good AAU season with the Ohio Basketball Club that included all-tourney team selections at the Pitt Jam Fest and the Bob Gibbons TOC, Taylor is looking forward to being the point guard and the point man on his high school team as a sophomore.
"Yeah, it was nice while I was in the shadows because it was my brother, but now I can move out of the shadows and do what I do," Taylor said.
Indiana isn't the only program that has taken notice of what Taylor can do. He's already been offered a scholarship by Akron, while Indiana, Xavier, Cincinnati, Ohio State, West Virginia, Tennessee, Georgetown and Oregon State are among the schools that are expressing interest. Scout.com National Recruiting Director Dave Telep has tagged Taylor as one of the top 50 players in the 2011 class, and one of the best players in Ohio.
"I'm just soaking it up," Taylor said about the early interest. "It gives me more energy to work harder toward my goals. It's fun for me. I really like it."
He's also taking a liking to the Indiana program following his trip to town this weekend. There's still a long ways to go before this high school sophomore will be headed off to college, but the Hoosiers appear to have been able to get their foot in the door early.
"Even though I'm from Ohio, I have a lot of interest in Indiana," Taylor said. "I liked the coaching staff, the arena, everything about Indiana."
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