Ray of hope

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The FAU men’s basketball team has struggled over the past couple of years, and with last season’s woeful 6-26 record, it was obvious that the team needed major upgrades. To improve the team, Head Coach Mike Jarvis and his recruiters scoured for top prospects and a new player to call the face of the program.

FAU found that player, and he’s a 5-foot-6 guard.

Pint-sized freshman point guard Raymond Taylor, who played for American Heritage School in Plantation, is a player who Jarvis expects will help carry the Owls to success and is considered to be among the top prospects in the country.

He earned such acclaim by winning numerous awards in his high school career, including three consecutive years as a South Florida high school all-star. Taylor even earned national recognition by being featured on ESPN.com. And while a player of this magnitude is typically out of FAU’s reach, Taylor surprised everyone when he committed to the Owls.
“When we saw him play in the summer, we thought he was one of the best players in the country,” said Assistant Head Coach Mike Jarvis Jr. “We feel like we got a steal.”

While Taylor had the opportunity to join much larger basketball programs, he chose FAU to make history. For Taylor, taking part in a growing program is more important than a team with established prestige.
“A lot of schools out there already have history,” said Taylor. “I’d rather make history.”
Taylor also believes it is important for him to show that he is just as good as, if not better than, the taller players.
“I’ve been the shortest player on a team basically my whole life,” said Taylor. “You have to use what people see as a disadvantage and turn it into your advantage.”

Among his strengths, Taylor boasts impressive speed, and he considers himself to be the fastest player on the team.

He displayed his quickness in the season opener against Florida Tech on Nov. 13, an 86-63 victory for the Owls. Taylor contributed with team highs in points (17), steals (five) and assists (10). The diminutive guard also added a team-high seven rebounds and showed no signs of freshman nerves.
“Head Coach [Mike] Jarvis gave me the confidence I needed, and my teammates put me in great positions,” said Taylor about his collegiate debut.

Taylor, who plans to stay at FAU for four years and get a degree in criminal justice, is hoping he can play professionally after his collegiate career.

If Taylor consistently puts up numbers like he did in the Owls’ season opener, then not even his height will prevent him from accomplishing that goal.