Friday, June 13, 2008

Dante Taylor- Rising Senior is a Rising Star

Dante Taylor, a 6'9 junior forward from National Christian Academy (MD), has been one of the players who has boosted his stock during this AAU season. Taylor has shined on the grassroots circuit with his NCA team, and colleges are certainly taking notice. I saw bits and pieces of one of his team's games at the Southern Jam Fest. After the game, Dante was kind enough to take a few minutes to chat with me.

NB: What do you consider to be the strongest point of your game?
DT: Probably my quickness and rebounding.

NB: What [is] . . . the aspect of your game that you’re going to need to work on the most?
DT: Probably playing with my back to the basket.

NB: What is it like for you [to be] playing with this National Christian Academy program in the way that it’s set up?
DT: Oh, it’s good because we pretty go to all the big tournaments. . . . It’s for me to show everybody our team and how I play, and plus, it’s a good environment for me.

NB: Is [NCA] . . . a high school that [has] you guys playing on the AAU level as well?
DT: Yeah.

NB: What is that like for you? . . . Not only do you play basketball with these guys, you go to school with them.
DT: Oh, that’s good because we maintain a friendship [and] relationship with each other, and we all [are] used to playing with each other on the court, so we know how each of us work on the court and what our strong points are on the court and what our weaknesses are on the court.

NB: How do you think it helps you guys to relate off the court as well?
DT: [It’s] good because . . . when we [are] off the court, we [are] in the classroom or walking down the hallways [and] we keep each other in line, make sure nobody gets in trouble.

NB: What made this school this school stand out to you over some of the other programs that do similar things, like IMG Academy?
DT: Pretty much because it was . . . a Christian school.

NB: Is that something you’re looking for in a college as well, a Christian background, . . . [like a school such as] Villanova?
DT: Yeah, it’s not really that important for real.

NB: What are some of the schools that are showing interest in you?
DT: Kansas, Pittsburgh, Villanova, Syracuse, UConn, Maryland, Georgetown, Seton Hall, [and] West Virginia.

NB: Who have you received a [scholarship] offer from?
DT: West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Maryland, UNC-Charlotte, [and] UConn.

NB: Do you have a leader at this point?
DT: No, not really.

NB: Do you have any schools that are at the top of your list, three or four maybe, that you’re the most highly considering?
DT: No, not really, pretty much everybody is [at] the same level.

NB: When do you plan on starting to take official visits?
DT: I don’t really know, probably the beginning of next year or something like that.

NB: Do you know where you want to visit?
DT: No, not really.

NB: Is there a school you’ve always dreamed of playing [at]?
DT: When I first started playing basketball, I wanted to go to UConn, but now since everybody’s looking at me, I pretty much don’t have a . . . favorite right now.

NB: A lot [has] been written about you during this short AAU season thus far. What has that been like for you . . . to have the national attention that you’ve been receiving?
DT: That’s good because then that gives all the coaches the opportunity to . . . see how I’m doing when they [are] not at the games, . . . and gives them the opportunity to see me, my name everywhere, so they know I’m making noise out here.

NB: What’s your favorite part about playing basketball?
DT: Offense.

Taylor is not only a rising senior, he is one of America's biggest risers on recruiting charts. His National Christian Academy squad as a whole has been making some noise as well. The team was the runner-up in the Gold Bracket at the Southern Jam Fest and will likely continue to win game throughout the summer. The team features numerous stars, including Taylor '09, Antonio Barton '10, William Barton '10, and Wilbur O'Neal '08. Taylor's stock may well continue to rise, and his recruitment will only heat up as his final year of high school ball comes and goes.

Note- photo is from

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