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West Orange Times & Observer Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 1 year ago

Sports Spotlight: Johnny Taylor, Ocoee High basketball

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Ocoee senior Johnny Taylor has emerged as a leader for the Knights basketball team.
by: Troy Herring Former Sports Editor

A senior on the Ocoee boys basketball team, Johnny Taylor has found himself as a leader for the Knights following a senior exodus that happened last year. Now, Taylor, who plays at the 3, is leading the team in points and rebounds and hopes to make the most out of his final season.
 

When did you first get into basketball?

Since my dad played, it’s like I’ve always been around it, but I think it was 2012 — I was at the YMCA — when I first started playing basketball.
 

What was it about basketball that you loved so much?

As a kid, I just liked the energy that the crowd gets from a dunk or something — that’s what made me really get into a game. Seeing my favorite player LeBron (James), seeing him dunk and the energy that he gave off  — I think that is what got me into the game.
 

Since you first started playing, what would you say has been the biggest change you’ve seen in yourself?

I feel like I’m more confident. I used to play kind of nervous, as in I was scared to make a mistake when I played.
 

How do you get over a bad game?

I just look toward to the next play — I don’t try to hang my head low when I have an off night. Even though it’s frustrating, I don’t try to hang my head. I look at it as, “All right, get it back the next play, try to get it back on defense,” something like that — anyway to contribute.
 

What has been your favorite part about playing at Ocoee?

My favorite part about playing basketball at Ocoee is probably not even the basketball part — it’s probably the offseason before we start playing. I think my favorite part is when our coach just has us working out outside — that’s my favorite part for some reason; we’re flipping tires and doing all this stuff outside. It’s like, I’m pushing myself every day, and I think that’s my favorite part about being at Ocoee.
 

What’s your favorite thing about playing small forward? The most challenging part?

My favorite part about playing the position is I’m kind of a wing player. … It’s kind of like my speciality, and it’s kind of playing all around playing the 3 spot. I think the most difficult part is it’s like a big change, because we came from having 11 seniors where everyone is 6-foot-5 and above, so obviously my part wouldn’t be playing the 3 — I would be at a guard spot. So it’s like I’m playing the 3 along with other positions because I’m one of the bigs on the team. I like it, but at the same time it’s kind of a change.
 

Do you have a highlight moment during your time at Ocoee?

I think for me it was the first time I dunked the ball in a game. It’s crazy because the first time I did it, that was the one game that did not get recorded. I was so hyped I don’t even remember that happening — that was my sophomore year.

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Troy Herring was the sports editor at the West Orange Times and Observer, Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com.

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