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.
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.”