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April 9, 2009

Meet Dara Taylor

Dara Taylor never expected to finish her high school career with an appearance at the McDonald’s All-American game.

Yet there she was last week in Miami, chosen as one of the top 24 high school girls basketball players in the country.

The Maryland-bound point guard earned rave reviews from scouts during East team practices. She finished second to Virginia signee China Crosby in the skills competition. But most importantly, Taylor came away from the all-star event knowing she belonged.

“It definitely was cool to see myself ... on the court with all these big names from across the country,” Taylor said. “To finally meet them and be on the same court, it helped reassure myself that I’m ready to be on the same level with them. I feel like I’m right there with the best competition in the country.”

Taylor’s set to arrive in College Park in mid-July. There’s a good chance she’ll be immediately tasked with replacing Kristi Toliver at the point -- something the Wilmington, Del., native has dreamed of since committing to the Terps early in her junior year.

“I’m ready for the challenge,” Taylor said. “Following in Kristi’s footsteps [is an honor]. Kristi came in as a freshman obviously and did really big things. So the opportunity is there. I’m looking to take full advantage of it.”

Name: Dara Taylor
Birthdate: Jan. 16, 1991
Birthplace: New York City
Hometown: Wilmington, Del.
Nickname: D.T.
Height: 5’5
Position: Point guard
High School: Caravel Academy
Senior statistics: 17.8 points, 5.5 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 steals
Other schools considered: Penn State
Favorite pro basketball player: Chris Paul
Favorite pro basketball team: New Orleans Hornets
Favorite all-time Terp: Kristi Toliver
Favorite music: Kanye West, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne
Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Favorite movie: Oceans 11
Favorite TV show: Grey’s Anatomy
Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite high school class: Calculus
Favorite thing about College Park: “Comcast. Everything about Comcast, and the fans.”
Hobbies: “Shopping. I like to go bowling, go to the movies.”
Intended major: Business
Something that not many people know about you: “I used to play football ... in seventh grade. I think I was about 12 or 13. I was the only girl. ... It was weird at first, but I was better than all the guys (laughs). So they kind of accepted me as the quarterback. ... I only played for one year because I got serious about basketball.”
Best basketball moment: “Probably beating DFW.” (Editor’s note: Taylor’s Philly Belles AAU squad beat the previously-undefeated Dallas-Fort Worth team in a tournament last summer.)
Role model: “I would say my parents because they work hard and make a lot of sacrifices for me and my brother.”
Why Maryland? “It fit me overall. I was comfortable when I went down there. I love the coaching staff, my teammates, the style of play, the academics. It just was the perfect school and I felt really at home.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:54 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

Comments

I truly hope Dara has the skills. It is going to be tough replacing Kristie but she is not Kristi so she needs to put her identity on the position. Hopefully Brenda now realize that you have to play defence.

The Lady Terps' inability on defense was heavily critized and duly noted during the ACC Tourney and the NCAA Tourney.

From now until Dara arrives on campus she will certainly need to work on her point guard skills and be ready to take the pounding that others teams directed on Kristie. I hope she has had the opportunity to talk with Kristie before she left.

Hopefully Dara will have a great work ethic, plays defense and have a successful career at Maryland. Maryland will have several front line players at 6-4, 6-6 and 6-7. If Dara is on target, they will again have another strong inside game as they did with Langhorne and Harper.

To you Dara, good luck and welcome to the Lady Terps. As a season ticket holder, I will be in the stands cheering.

Clinton,
Since you seem to be a basketball expert and have all the answers, maybe you should get into coaching. If you do, let me know. I'd love to come watch your team.


I think Dara Taylor is going to do wonders for the program with the exits of Kristi and Marissa who can run the point. With Anjale Barrett coming back from injury i think she will be able to take some of the pressure of Dara. Barrett proved to be an explosive gaurd who can handle pressure at times this season. With more playing time I think she can help Taylor coming into a big spot in the Maryland program. Taylor showed her ability to defend, score, and dish the ball through high school and seems to be willing to fill the void Kristi Toliver has left at the point. I look forward to watching her play as a season ticket holder for the Lady Terps!!! Good luck Dara

What in the world is going on inside the women's BB program? I wasn't surprised about Drey Mingo, but Marah Strickland is a starter. How will Brenda fill these scholarships? We may have the youngest, least experienced team in the ACC next year.

Well Drey Mingo transferred this season because she saw a huge lack of playing time... personally i didnt think she was that good of a player. Strickland however, I believe still had an undeclared major, and may have transferred for academics. This just creates more problems on filling that 2 spot and possibly a 3 where she could have been effective. But I wish Marah the best of luck wherever she goes, hope to one day see that shooting talent in the WNBA

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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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