- Glenn Nelson, ESPNHS HoopGurlz
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A confluence of some unusual circumstances led Sharena Taylor to become Georgia Tech's third, and highest rated, commit in the 2009 class.
The sharp, well-built point guard is highly motivated, academically, and was looking to leave her native Michigan state. She happened to be down in Augusta, Ga., where her Michigan Crossovers club team had competed at Nike Nationals. Augusta also was close to relatives as well as her top three college choices.
Despite a sprained medial-collateral ligament in her right knee, which knocked her out of the end of the premier summer tournament, Taylor was able to limp through unofficial visits to Auburn, Georgia and Georgia Tech, then make a list of pros and cons for each.
Resolute, Taylor, as she put it, "followed my heart and my head" to coach MaChelle Joseph's Yellow Jackets.
In time, Tech will have quite a perimeter trio as Taylor will join Joseph's highly ranked 2007 signees Alex Montgomery and Iasia Walker, both of whom enjoyed stellar freshman seasons in the ACC last year. Taylor also joins in Joseph's committed 2009 class Shayla Bivins, a 6-5 post, from Stanton Prep in Jacksonville, Fla., and Jasmine Blain, a 6-1 forward, from North Cobb High School in Kenneshaw, Ga.
Ranked No. 62 in the 2009 class by ESPN HoopGurlz, Taylor will be a senior at Detroit Country Day, a private high school in Beverly Hills, Mich.
"I wanted to venture out," Taylor said via cell phone from Atlanta, the home of Tech as well as relatives from both sides of her family. "People always say that wherever you go to college is where you end up living - either that, or go back home. I definitely felt like I needed some new surroundings."
At 5 feet 9, Taylor is long and strong and doesn't push the look-at-me factor from the point. She sees the court well, will transport the ball to open angles and make connections a lot of other point guards won't even notice. She has a strong handle and does well off penetration, either finishing at the rim or hitting a nice floater in the middle of the lane.
Taylor can catch and shoot from distance, and has nice upper-body form, but sometimes takes her legs out of her jump shot and, mostly, sometimes is not aggressive with her own perimeter offense.
"Even college coaches always ask why I don't shoot more," Taylor said. "They ask if my coach tells me not to shoot. Sometimes my coach was a little hard on me, which is to be expected because I'm a point guard. But mostly it's a matter of confidence. I really expect that to come along when I play in college. I'll be playing for a point-guard coach, and that will help."
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Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the McDonald's All-American and Parade All-American Selection Committees, he formerly coached girls club basketball, was the editor-in-chief of an online sports network, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharena Taylor is the third player from the 2009 class to make a verbal commitment to Georgia Tech, writes Glenn Nelson.