Coach Taylor’s Excellent Summer
It’s been quite a busy summer for Mike Taylor. The veteran basketball coach, who was an assistant to Kevin Velasco on Punahou’s state championship girls basketball team this past winter, spent a month on the Mainland coaching Hawaii and California all-star teams in major tournaments.
Taylor helped lead the Kalakaua 17-under team to three big wins in the Nike End of the Oregon Trail tournament in Oregon City. Then, he pushed them to two more big victories in the MidSummer Night Madness tournament the next week in Everett, Wash. It was a great chance for some of the Islands’ top up-and-coming talent — Kamaile Kandiah, Starr Rivera, Maegen Martin, Tyra Moe and many other players, including Mike’s daughter Lexie — to showcase their skills against tough Mainland competition from the Northwest.
“Our girls really hung with the top teams. It was a great experience,” he tells me.
Then, after the Hawaii girls flew home, Taylor headed south to Los Angeles to hook up with George Quintero’s California Storm Team Taurasi, one of the top age-group teams in the nation and a contender for the national championship.
“It’s been a dream of mine to put together a team like this from Hawaii to see how our girls compete with the best,” he says.
In the past, some high school stars from the Islands have been able to play on out-of-state teams during the summer — for example,
Shawna Lei and Shaena Lyn Kuehu and Vicky Tagalicod, who all played for the California Storm — but now NCAA rules only allow players to play on their in-state teams or for their immediately neighboring state.
“Since Hawaii and Alaska don’t have an immediate neighboring state, we’re at a disadvantage,” he says.
Taylor eventually hopes to find a way to work through all the issues and put together a Hawaii national contender, but in the meantime, he had a tremendous coaching experience in assisting the Team Taurasi staff to a national qualifying spot in Phoenix, and eventually to winning the 2014 Nike EYBL national title in Augusta, S.C.
“It was awesome. I’m so happy for the girls. They were relentless on the court and they really liked each other, and they never gave up, even when we played teams much taller,” he says. “Working with Coach Quintero is such an honor. He’s all about teaching fundamentals and developing the kids. He’s a master coach, and the kids just love him. It really opened my eyes to see what you can do as a team working together.”
Now, Taylor will take some of the skills he’s learned to a basketball clinic on Oahu this week. He is one of three top local coaches leading the inaugural ScoringLive Basketball Clinic set for Friday and Saturday (Aug. 15-16) at Manoa Valley District Park.
Two sessions are offered each day: a morning session for girls and boys ages 6-10, and an afternoon session for players ages 11-18. Taylor, along with Pat Wetzel (Leilehua) and Steve Hathaway (Roosevelt) will provide attendees with a wealth of instruction, covering a wide range of offensive and defensive fundamentals, including ball handling, footwork, shooting, pivoting, rebounding, transition, one-on-one moves and more.
The cost for the clinic is $80. For more information, email clinics@scoringlive .com or call 864-9113.
Here’s a chance for you or the future basketball star in your family to become a part of Mike Taylor’s busy and productive summer.