“Don’t tell people your dreams, show them.” With four D-I college offers under his belt, Corbin High School junior Andrew Taylor is doing just that. Being part of Hoop Dreams, a 16u AAU team, has afforded him the opportunity to showcase his skills on a national level.
Most recently, Hoop Dreams was in Orlando, Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World where approximately 4,800 elite athletes from across the nation went head-to-head at the 16U/17U AAU Boys’ Basketball National Championship and Super Showcase events.
Hoop Dreams went 3-0 in pool play. In the first game against Martin Brothers, Taylor scored 22 points, had 8 rebounds and 6 assists. In the last game of pool play, they played the Clermont Warriors out of Florida.
Taylor started off hot, scoring the first 3 points of the game. The heat continued, and by the end of the first quarter, Hoop Dreams led 30-11.
When halftime rolled around, Hoop Dreams had doubled their opponents’ points, making the score 48-24.
Taylor opened the fourth quarter up by scoring, resulting in a 42-point lead, 73-31.
During the last quarter, there was a running clock because Hoop Dreams was up by over 30 points.
The Clermont Warriors were a skilled team, but they couldn’t quite keep up. Taylor led his team to a victory of 49 points, the final score being 82-33, ranking them #1 in their pool and advancing them to the gold bracket.
Overall, Hoop Dreams played very well, and Taylor remained a standout among even some of the most skilled basketball players in the nation.
This National Super Showcase was the last AAU tournament for the season. “Prior to this tournament,” Taylor said. “I played in the Tip Off Classic in Indianapolis, the Adidas Gauntlet Series, the Adidas Gauntlet Finale in Spartanburg, and On the Radar: Super 6 Showcase in Atlanta.”
AAU is unique in the way it brings differing individuals together. It’s amazing to think that so many players from varying backgrounds and hometowns could come together and showcase not only their own abilities, but help highlight their teammates’ abilities as well. The National AAU Super Showcase takes those opportunities and experiences further.
When asked about the experiences that led up to competing on one of the most loaded AAU teams, Taylor said, “When I was in fourth grade, I was playing on a local travel basketball team, and we went to play Hoop Dreams one weekend. I hit the game winning shot, which led to the Hoop Dreams coach contacting me about playing for him. I’ve been playing for Hoop Dreams ever since.”
One trait Taylor shows on the court is his unsurpassed work ethic. Mike Scott, Taylor’s AAU coach of seven years, said, “His work ethic is off the charts. I can’t say I’ve had a kid that’s worked as hard as this guy. When he comes for training, he is relentless at getting better.”
Another character trait Scott referred to when talking about Taylor was leadership, saying, “He is one of the leaders on our team.”
Tony Pietrowski, Taylor’s high school basketball coach, also spoke of Taylor’s work ethic in addition to what makes him such a unique player.
“Andrew has the rare combination of D-I talent and D-I work ethic.” Pietrowski explained. “The hours he puts in behind the scenes are in direct correlation to the success he sees on the floor. Andrew’s ceiling is extremely high due in large part to his desire to always improve.”
Coach Scott and Coach Pietrowski both spoke of Taylor’s future potential highly. Scott said, “He has the potential to play at the high, division one level. He has the potential to make money at this game one day. He’s getting a lot of national attention this year. I don’t even think he’s scratched the surface of how big he could possibly be.”
Pietrowski echoed those sentiments, saying, “He’s had an amazing summer, and put his name on the radar of numerous major colleges. I fully expect him to have a variety of options college-wise by the end of his career here at Corbin.”
Story courtesy of Abbey Norvell, photos courtesy of Ashley Norvell