By MATTHEW NG
THE JOURNAL NEWS
(Original publication: November 21, 2007)
WHITE PLAINS - As an assistant coach under Jim Calhoun at Connecticut, Karl Hobbs was credited with the development of Ray Allen and Richard Hamilton and recruited the likes of a third future NBA guard, Mount Vernon's Ben Gordon.
It's fair to say he knows a thing or two about guards.
After meeting Stepinac senior point guard Tony Taylor for the first time over a month ago, there were two things that really impressed the George Washington University men's basketball coach.
"I saw a person who is a terrific kid, No. 1. He's articulate; he's bright. The word 'precocious' comes to mind," Hobbs said in a telephone interview. "As a point guard, character is very important, but he also has great speed and court vision. I think he is as good a shooter as I've seen as a point guard since Khalid El-Amin."
That's high praise for Taylor - who yesterday at Stepinac, with his family, teammates and coaches by his side, signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for George Washington.
"It's great that I got this out of the way," said Taylor, a Tarrytown resident who had other offers from Iona, Manhattan, Stony Brook, Loyola (Md.), Quinnipiac and St. Bonaventure. "Now I can focus hard on getting better for the season and make sure that we win."
The 6-foot point guard averaged 22 points, 6.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game and led the Crusaders to a 17-8 record last season.
Taylor gave an oral commitment to GW last month. After making his first visit to the Washington campus, he knew he had found the right place.
"I went down there and I saw that the team works real hard, and that's what I'm about," Taylor said. "It's right by the White House. There's so much history over there. You can go anywhere. The coaches are real nice, and the people at GW really take care of you."
George Washington has enjoyed recent success, making the NCAA tournament out of the Atlantic 10 the past three seasons. In 2005-06, the Colonials posted a 27-3 mark and were ranked as high as No. 6 in The Associated Press' poll.
"We are anticipating him to be an impact player for us," Hobbs said. "I can't wait to coach this kid."
Along with teammate Melquan Bolding, who is orally committed to Louisville, Taylor forms a formidable duo that coach Tim Philp feels will leave a legacy at Stepinac many years from now.
"He sees the tradition we have of 45-plus players' jerseys on that wall," Philp said, referring to Stepinac's Honor Wall of College and Professional Athletes. "And it was his goal to have his jersey there someday and to play Division I basketball."