By DOUG EADS, CJ Correspondent
Pulaski County High School senior Taylor Gover has enjoyed a remarkable prep career for the Maroons over the past four seasons to say the very least.
Gover has won district tournaments, been named the Most Outstanding Player of several tournaments over the past few years, and is the two-time Commonwealth Journal Player of the Year for his play as a sophomore, and again last season as a junior. Last season, Gover played in the Junior Kentucky-Indiana All-Star Game.
But, even with everything he’s accomplished during an outstanding high school basketball career while at Pulaski County, even Taylor Gover would be hard pressed to have a better two-day stint than the one he enjoyed at the end of last week.
It all began last Thursday for Gover, when it was announced that he was one of only 10 players from the state of Kentucky that had been nominated to play in the upcoming McDonald’s All-Star Basketball Game.
When you consider that players the likes of Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Michael Jordan, Kevin Durant, Kevin Garnett, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson just to name a few, have taken part in this Who’s Who of basketball all-star events, it becomes clear just how truly a special accomplishment it is just to be nominated to play in the McDonald’s All-Star Game.
And with last Thursday’s announcement that Gover was one of 10 kids from the Bluegrass to be nominated for this year’s game, it just added another crowned jewel to the achievement list of a player who already has had an extraordinary high school career.
“Honestly, when I saw the list, the Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew) were in the very next sentence after I saw my name,” stated Gover, in talking about the number two and number four ranked players in the country that have already signed with the University of Kentucky. “After I saw that, the first thought that went through my mind was to wonder if I was dreaming or was this really happening to me. It’s overwhelming — I didn’t really know at that point whether to break down and cry or just start laughing.”
Being nominated for the McDonald’s All-Star Game is just half of Gover’s accomplishments from last week.
On Friday night, Pulaski County’s all-time leading scorer added another milestone to his career, thanks to a 31-point performance on the road at Wayne County.
With those 31 points, Gover surpassed the 2,000 point plateau for his career — becoming the first Maroon player to join the 2,000 point club.
Gover, who now has 2,015 points for his career, says that joining the 2,000 point club is great, but he’s quick to point out that for himself and the rest of his teammates, there’s only one goal that matters for the Pulaski County Maroons in 2013 — a 12th Regional championship.
“It’s a huge accomplishment and I’m truly blessed,” remarked the Maroons point guard.
“The Lord has blessed me with a lot of abilities, and he’s given me the platform of basketball and I try to use it to glorify him,” added the PC senior. “I couldn’t have done this without my teammates and my coaching staff pushing me every day to get better. It’s not really about individual awards however, but it’s more about the team. The team’s got one goal in mind and that’s to get to Rupp Arena.”
As for the man who has had the privilege to coach Taylor Gover during a remarkable career at PC, Al Gover — who is also Taylor’s uncle — says that he’s seen a lot of great players over the years, and he would put his nephew up there with just about anybody he’s seen play the game of basketball at the high school level.
“He’s as good of a high school basketball player as I’ve seen come along in a long, long time,” stated coach Gover.
“I think he’s only going to get better,” continued the Maroons coach. “You know you can talk about all his scoring, but before his career here is over here at PC, he’s going to end up with close to 600 assists, which is a really, really impressive number. You’re talking about a player with well over 2,000 points and 600 assists — that’s pretty strong.”
What about being nominated for the McDonald’s All-Star Game coach?
“I guess I was kind of like everybody else when the news came out last week — I thought to myself this is pretty amazing,” stated coach Gover.
“I know there were 10 kids from the state of Kentucky that was nominated, so I think that shows there are some people out there that are pretty high on him as a player,” added the PC coach.
For Taylor Gover, there’s still work to be done in this his last year at Pulaski County High School.
Yes, he has won three 47th District Tournaments in three years, and he’s been part of a senior class that has absolutely owned and dominated their two cross-town rivals.
The Maroons — with Taylor Gover as the starting point guard since his freshman season — have posted an 8-1 record against Southwestern, and are a perfect, 8-0 against the Somerset Briar Jumpers.
But, there’s one thing missing and that’s a 12th Regional Tournament championship.
For Taylor Gover, he’s says that’s what this season is all about — bringing an elusive regional title back to PC.
That goal has yet to be accomplished, but as for his high school basketball career as a whole, there’s no denying that Taylor Gover is one of the all-time greats — not only at Pulaski County High School — but from our community in general, regardless of what era you’re talking about.
Whether or not he makes it all the way to the McDonald’s All-Star Game to play alongside the nation’s top players is yet to be determined.
One thing is for certain though. On the court or off the court, Taylor Gover is truly an All-Star in every sense of the word.
His play on the hardwood and the life he leads away from the game of basketball is a true reflection of just how special a player and person PC’s leading man really is.