Terry Taylor is used to performing well at E.A. Diddle Arena.
He excelled on the court inside Western Kentucky’s University’s gymnasium in multiple Region 4 Tournaments as a standout at Bowling Green High School and is continuing to put up big numbers on the very same floor at the collegiate level.
Taylor, now a junior guard/forward at Austin Peay, made a return to his hometown Saturday and scored a team-high 22 points and seven rebounds in the Governors’ 97-75 loss to WKU. In addition that impressive stat line – which is what Taylor records nearly every outing – he added two steals and an assist.
“It was a surreal moment coming out and playing back at home,” Taylor said. “I hadn’t played at home since the region tournament my senior year. I had a little nerves in the beginning, but I shook them off. I just played my game and tried to give my team all I could.”
Taylor struggled in the opening half, only scoring four points and grabbing three rebounds, but found his groove and settled in for the second to score 18 of his 22 points and the team’s 50.
“Most people go back home and they want to force the issue,” Taylor said. “I wasn’t really trying to force the issue. I was just trying to play my game and let it come on offense. The second half I had to step up and make plays for my team because they needed me.”
Entering the season with 1,205 points and 495 rebounds and already with an Ohio Valley Conference Freshman of the Year accolade in 2018 under his belt, Taylor was tabbed the league’s Preseason Player of the Year.
Being a team-first guy and wishing he and APSU were 2-0 and not 1-1, Taylor is already off to a pretty solid start to the year from an individual standpoint.
“It’s a blessing, honestly,” Taylor said. “I wouldn’t have gotten the award if it wasn’t for my teammates – the coaches putting the ball in my hand and trusting me to make plays. It’s very humbling. It’s just a testament to how hard I have been working, all the time I have put in the gym. The hard work I’ve done in practice is showing out there in the game.
“I am off to a good start, but it would be better if we were 2-0.”
While Taylor’s return trip to Bowling Green gave him the opportunity to play in front of friends and family, and on a court he has found much success, he also had the chance to play against fellow former in-state prep standouts in Warren Central’s Jared Savage, Taveion Hollingsworth (Paul Laurence Dunbar) and Camron Justice (Knott County Central).
“It was crazy,” Taylor said. “I have played against every single one of them before, whether it was a pick-up when I come back home or in high school. It was kind of a surreal moment to play against Taveion and all of them.”
Taylor will be back in action Saturday on the road at Tulsa. ESPN3 will carry the broadcast.