He split his time growing up in both Georgia and Brooklyn and chose Wheeler (Ga.) over Lincoln for his high school of choice. But Phil Taylor isn’t conflicted when it comes to his hometown.
“I’m a New York guy,” he said. “Some people might say I’m from Atlanta, but I still say I’m from New York.”
It’s understandable that Taylor wants to cling to the city despite having a Georgia mailing address. After all, New York is known for its point guards and the junior is starting to open eyes for his ability at that position.
Case in point was the City of Palms Classic where Taylor helped Wheeler, a team with a pair of ACC-bound players, to a fourth-place finish two weeks ago. In front of a bevy of college coaches, including Kansas assistant Danny Manning and North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Taylor had a solid tournament.
“I know a lot of the big-time guys are watching me and me being so young, they say I have a high IQ for the game,” Taylor said. “I feel like that can put me over a lot of players. That’s what I look for in big tournaments like this, to make a name for myself.”
The highlight for Taylor was a 26-point, 7-assist and 4-steal performance in a 101-84 win against No. 16 Lincoln on Dec. 20.
“What a good player he is,” recruiting guru Tom Konchalski of the HSBI Report said. “First of all, he has an extra gear. He’s really quick, he can push the ball in the open court and he has a very good change of pace to get himself into defenses.
“He showed very good judgment when he got inside,” he added. “He made shots, his free throws down the stretch. He has a very good feel for the game. At his size he has to be a little stronger for the next level. He’s going to be a high-major recruit.”
Had Taylor stayed in Brooklyn after eighth grade, he would have been a Railsplitter. It was something he and Lance Stephenson spoke about when they were younger.
But Taylor, who has drawn interest from Auburn, Xavier, Tennessee, Virginia and Florida State, as well as an offer from Richmond, moved back to Marietta to live with his father and wanted a chance to play for a team he could call his own.
“Down here this is my team, I control everything as the point guard,” said Taylor, a 5-foot-9 lightning-quick guard. “I see that Lance, being the guy he is, one through five, everything is through him. We’re both leaders and we’re both trying to take our teams to the next level.”
It was the first time Taylor’s cousin, Joab Jerome, a transfer from Xaverian, got to play Stephenson and Lincoln.
“This is my first time