It appears Head Coach Ken McDonald is adamant about signing a point guard for the 2011 class.
Since St. John Bosco (Calif.) point guard Cezar Guerrero de-committed in November, point guards Kelvin Amayo and Shaq Boga have told the Herald that WKU had expressed interest in them, and likewise they had interest in WKU.
But Boga has since signed a National Letter of Intent with Wisconsin-Milwaukee. And while Amayo has yet to make a verbal commitment, another name is being added to the mix: Marietta, Ga., point guard Phil Taylor.
Taylor told the Herald that he and WKU have mutual interest, and a scholarship has been offered to him by the Toppers’ coaching staff.
Taylor was a three-star recruit in the class of 2010 on Rivals.com out of Wheeler High School in Marietta and had signed to play for Head Coach Isiah Thomas at Florida International. But Taylor said he had ACT problems and didn’t enroll at FIU this fall.
Instead, Taylor landed at Central Jersey Each One Teach One, a prep school labeled as a “High School Post Graduate Basketball Program,” in Somerset, N.J.
However, a Miami Herald article quoted Taylor’s high school coach, Doug Lipscomb, as saying that his grades were good enough to qualify.
Either way, Taylor is again going through the recruitment process.
Taylor said that McDonald is close with Lipscomb and said the two spoke last week about Taylor.
At the same time, McDonald was getting in touch with Taylor.
“He explained the situation to me (about former commit Cezar Guerrero), and I checked out the website and some videos on YouTube,” he said. “He threw the rod out there, and everything he preached to me is everything I’m looking for.”
For Taylor, that was being able to contribute right away, have the ability to be a leader and win basketball games.
As was the case with many of the 2011 recruits and potential recruits, it wasn’t just the coaches who were trying to sell WKU. Taylor said he’s close friends with signee Derrick Gordon and gave Gordon credit for getting his interest in the program.
“Derrick told me the city and the atmosphere is just incredible and how much they love their basketball team,” he said. “I feed off my support, so if they give 100 percent, I give 150.”
Taylor said that until about a week ago when McDonald and Gordon got in contact with him about WKU, he didn’t know a whole lot about the program or the school — only that a reputation for winning big games had gotten his attention.
“I’ve always seen Western Kentucky on the bottom of the screen on ESPN and always making the tournament and upsetting big teams,” he said. “That was one thing that stood out to me. They always compete, and I love the way the fans love the team.”
Taylor, whose list of options aside from WKU includes South Florida, Central Florida and Northeastern, said he likes the idea of playing for a small school and getting the opportunity to knock off bigger schools.
Theoretically, Taylor could still re-sign with FIU after this season. He said they would still be interested in signing him after the season, despite his problems with the ACT.
Taylor said if he would’ve qualified he would have enrolled, but “a lot more opportunities will open up” for him now.
“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “So now I’m just taking the time to weigh my options.”
Taylor said WKU is one of his top options. He plans on taking a visit to WKU as soon as possible.
“If everything goes right and I like the visit, then I could possibly commit very early,” he said. “I’m definitely digging the Western feel.”