Austin Peay’s Terry Taylor began his college career eager to do whatever it took to get on the floor.
“I was going to find any way to play,” Taylor recalled. “I didn’t have to score or anything. If it was rebounding or defense, I was going to find away to get on the court and be able to play and contribute.”
Taylor’s versatility has made him one of the nation’s most prominent players from a traditional one-bid conference, but it certainly hasn’t come at the expense of his scoring.
The reigning Ohio Valley Conference player of the year averaged 21.8 points and 11 rebounds last season. Taylor, a 6-foot-5 senior swingman on track to graduate in May, is averaging 19.2 points and 9.5 rebounds over 100 career games.
Not bad for someone who once worried about the status of his scholarship offer.
Taylor committed to Austin Peay before his senior season at Bowling Green High School in Kentucky, but he wondered about his future after Governors coach Dave Loos retired.
There was no need for concern. Matt Figger took over for Loos and assured Taylor that the Governors still wanted him. Taylor has rewarded that loyalty and now has a chance to accomplish the one goal that has eluded him — an NCAA Tournament berth.
Taylor feared he wouldn’t get that opportunity because of the coronavirus pandemic. Now he wants to make the most of it.
“I was kind of nervous that we weren’t going to have a season,” Taylor said.
Taylor is one of the more accomplished players from unranked teams that play in mid-major or low-major leagues. Here are some other noteworthy players who fit that profile:
WESTERN KENTUCKY C CHARLES BASSEY
This 6-11 junior was the nation’s No. 6 overall prospect in his class according to composite rankings of recruiting sites compiled by 247Sports, but he signed with Western Kentucky instead of choosing a major-conference power. Bassey was averaging 15.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks through 10 games last year before a fracture in his left leg ended his season.
DETROIT MERCY G ANTOINE DAVIS
Davis, a 6-1 junior, has led the Horizon League in scoring each of the last two years. He ranked third among Division I players in scoring (26.1) as a freshman and finished fourth (24.3) last season. He made 132 3-pointers two years ago to break Stephen Curry’s NCAA freshman record and followed that up with 101 last season.
NORTHERN IOWA G AJ GREEN
Green, a 6-4 junior, averaged 19.7 points while making 91.7% of his free throws and 39.1% of his 3-point attempts last season. He was named the Missouri Valley Conference player of the year and scholar-athlete of the year. This former top-100 recruit was the MVC’s freshman of the year two seasons ago and scored 509 points, the most ever by a Northern Iowa freshman.
UTSA G JHIVVAN JACKSON
Jackson averaged 26.8 points as a junior last season to rank second in Division I, behind only Marquette’s Markus Howard. His scoring average set a Conference USA single-season record. The 6-foot guard also averaged 5.6 rebounds, the second-highest total for any Division I player who was 6 feet tall or shorter. He averaged 18.4 points as a freshman and 22.9 points as a sophomore.
UNC GREENSBORO G ISAIAH MILLER
This 6-foot senior was the Southern Conference’s player of the year last season and the defensive player of the year each of the last two seasons. His 89 steals last season ranked second in Division I. His 241 career steals are a school record. Miller also averaged 17.8 points last season to rank second in the conference.
PEPPERDINE G COLBEY ROSS
Ross, a 6-1 senior, averaged 20.5 points and 7.2 assists last season. He ranked 22nd nationally in points per game, sixth in assists per game, seventh in free throws made (176) and 11th in minutes per game (37.6). His 647 career assists lead active Division I players.
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