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Marshall's Taylor named top freshman in C-USA

Oct. 15, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- Marshall University men's basketball player Ryan Taylor is the No. 1 freshman in Conference USA, according to CollegeSportsMadness.com.

Taylor said Monday it's a blessing to be honored before you've ever played in a college game.

Marshall head coach Tom Herrion said the recognition is based on reputation and schools that recruited the 6-foot-5, 227-pound Taylor.

"He is a talented young man," Herrion said.

Taylor also had scholarship offers from Seton Hall, Arkansas, Dayton, Cincinnati and other schools. Marshall was fortunate to get him, Herrion said.

Success has followed Taylor throughout his playing days.

Before signing with the Thundering Herd and sitting out the 2012-13 season as an academic non-qualifier, Taylor played on a national prep school runner-up team at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va., coached by former Marshall guard A.W. Hamilton.

Taylor averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Hargrave Tigers in a 38-1 season. The only defeat was against Brewster Academy (N.H.) in the national championship game.

He said playing for Hamilton was fun, and Hargrave was a great experience despite having to get up every day at 6 a.m. and being in front of the school at 6:15 a.m. for military drills.

Taylor's hometown is Indianapolis, Ind., but he went to Louisville Western High School for his senior year and posted averages of 26.6 points and 14.2 rebounds in an all-state season.

His uncle, Paul Handley, was coaching at Western, and Taylor also wanted to be closer to the University of Louisville because he made a verbal pledge to the Cardinals as a sophomore.

Taylor played for three seasons at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis. He made all-state as a junior with averages of 27.8 points and 14.2 rebounds.

His only playing time for Marshall so far was in a summer trip to Canada for five exhibition games. Marshall won all five of its games with Taylor contributing 12.0 points and 8.2 rebounds per contest.

"It was an opportunity for us to work on team chemistry and play together," he said

Marshall has a Thursday night of basketball this week in Cam Henderson Center when the men's and women's team have intra-squad scrimmages in an event that begins at 5:30 p.m. The Herd men will also play an Oct. 28 exhibition game against Concord University before a Nov. 1 closed-door scrimmage at Eastern Kentucky.

The season opens Nov. 8 against South Carolina State.

"I kind of still feel like a rookie," said Taylor, who watched and couldn't practice or play last season. "We played in Canada, but not in real games. I'll probably feel that way until November 9th after we play that game."

Herrion is working with a squad that includes nine newcomers, including Taylor, and said he has to be patient with them all. The coach said he likes Taylor's versatility, ability to go get a rebound in traffic and willingness to play defense.

Taylor said he can provide a little bit of everything from rebounding, defense, offense, grittiness and toughness.

"Whatever it takes to win, that's what I want to do," he said.

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