Taylor gives MLK a lift in Public playoffs

Posted: February 18, 2014

MICHAEL JORDAN once famously joked that he stretched as a youngster in hopes of growing a few more inches to compete with his older brothers on the basketball court.

Martin Luther King High forward Jahmir Taylor cannot relate.

Taylor was once a 6-foot freshman at Frankford without any athletic ambitions. Now, the 6-8 senior's height is a frequent topic of conversation at family get-togethers.

He estimates his mother, Junetta Taylor, is 5-10, and his father, Willie Charles, is maybe 6-foot.

So, how did Taylor beanstalk his way to 6-8?

"I don't know," he said with a laugh. "That's the same thing I hear every day when I'm around my family."

The late bloomer was large with eight points (4-for-6), 14 rebounds and three blocks in King's 50-48 takedown of Central in Saturday's Class AAAA final at Ben Franklin.

The win pits King (20-4) against Math, Civics and Sciences Charter, which defeated New Media, 64-49. MLK and MC&S will meet at 5 p.m. tomorrow at Southern High in the Public League semifinals.

Perhaps most interesting about Taylor - he wasn't just late to grow - he also came late to basketball. Last year at Del-Val was his first season of high school hoops.

"There wasn't an interest to play sports," he said. "I watched it. I watched basketball all my life.

"Being as though I was little, I never really thought I was good enough. My mom wanted me to play a sport, but I just didn't think I was good enough. Now, I feel as though I can play with anybody."

Taylor might lack the offensive polish that comes with experience, but he makes his bones on the offensive glass. So when a shot goes up . . .

"That rebound is mine," he said. "I just try to get position. Coach Sean [Colson] works with me a lot. Before, I was an OK rebounder, but it wasn't really my strong suit.

"I have to improve on establishing a presence in the post," he added. "Coach Sean is helping me with it, being as though I've never really played. All this stuff is just new to me and I'm just trying to fit it into my game."

Senior guard Sammy Foreman supplied the points (12 on 5-for-14, 2-for-3 at the line) and was King's only double-figure scorer.

Central (21-4) was carried by senior forward Chris Bing's 14 points (7-for-12, 0-for-4 free throws), nine rebounds and two blocks. Junior Gregory Holdsman added 10 (3-for-7, 2-for-2 and two threes). However, Central (5-for-12) struggled at the foul line and committed 16 turnovers.

As for Taylor, who lives in the Northeast with his mother, he hopes to pursue physical therapy to stay around sports. Colleges have inquired but Taylor said Colson hasn't given him the specifics just yet.

They still have work to do. Between graduating seniors and transfers coming in, Taylor said the team struggled to develop chemistry until recently.

"The chemistry now is off the radar," he said. "We're coming together now and we all want the same goal - a championship."

On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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