Perhaps no player in Northeast Arkansas history has received more accolades and awards than Buffalo Island Central's Brooks Taylor. The 6'4" senior recently picked up yet another award, being named to the Class AA All-State team for the 2005-2006 season.
Taylor had already been chosen as the Class AA State Tournament Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive year, in addition to being chosen as the Player of the Year in the 3AA North Conference.
During the season, Taylor poured in 1,307 points, which is the highest recorded single season total by the Arkansas Activities Association. Taylor's 3,646 career points is the all time Buffalo Island Central scoring record and stands as the second highest total recorded by the AAA, trailing only Arkansas School for the Deaf's Benny Fuller, who played from 1969-1971.
Taylor finished the season averaging 32.7 points per game, connecting on 386 of 471 free throws, an 82 percent clip. Taylor also made 87 three point shots on the season. The University of South Alabama signee scored 40 or more points on nine different occasions, and topped the 50 point mark five times, including a career high 61 in BIC's District Tournament Championship victory over Maynard.
Taylor recently reflected back on his career at BIC and discussed his move into the collegiate ranks at South Alabama.
Question: Who is your hero?
A. J.J. Reddick is my guy, my hero, the one I look up to. Every game he plays on television I try to catch. I like him a lot. Everything Duke goes through, we (BIC) go through. I know we are no Duke, but they go places where everyone wants them to lose, like we do. And I see how J.J. handles it, and that's how I like to play.
Question: Who has been your biggest influence?
Answer: My mom and dad. They know what I am going through. You hear a lot of outside sources, but the people who tell you the truth are the people you live with.
Q. Who is the best player you have faced?
A. I don't really want to say James Anderson, but it is probably him. I have faced some great competitors in the Rumble on the Ridge, kids that signed with Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. But Anderson is going to be a big time player.
Q. Can you compare this year's team with last year's team?
A. I really looked forward to this year. People said we couldn't win the State Championship again, and I wanted to prove them wrong. I really looked forward to playing Jonesboro this year in Jonesboro. We have players that step up each year. Derek Rolland scored 19 against Altheimer last year while Jordan Phillips did it this year. Players like that make it easier for me. I get most of the attention, but they help me out a lot.
Q. What was the airplane thing that you have done during games?
A. The airplane thing was my ninth grade year. I had better ones I came up with than that, but I didn't get to use them because people were taking them too personal. I had to back off a little bit. I don't know what the airplane thing was. I tried to make it look like I could score pretty easily, you know, how an airplane flies in the sky pretty easily.
Q. What makes Brooks Taylor tick?
A. In sports people want to beat you and that is hard for me to understand, because I want to beat them more than they want to beat me. That's what makes me tick.
Q. What was your most disappointing loss?
A. It had to be the Regional Tournament my ninth and tenth grade years. Those two games were devastating. I couldn(t believe we lost those two games.
Q. What do you consider your biggest win?
A. There were two actually. Charleston in the semi-finals of the State Tournament my junior year at Sloan Hendrix, and Altheimer this year in the State Finals.
Q. There was an article about you in another newspaper earlier in the year that caused some controversy. How did that make you feel?
A. At first I couldn't believe it. I didn't know what to say when that was written. It was a cheap shot and everyone knew it. If an 18-year-old kid can figure the article out, then everyone else can. There are many ways to get to an 18-year old, but you don't do it through a newspaper article. You can call my house and talk to me or my Dad, but you don't write something about someone like that. I think that made him look really bad, especially with him not showing up for the Greene County Tech game that he was supposed to cover. Because if he had felt that he did the right thing, he would have shown up physically, so why didn't he just show up?
Q. Do you think you will be prepared for the media when you get to college?
A. Yes, I think so. I won't be the star there, although I am going to try to be the star. I am going to try to lead the team. I have got to get bigger and stronger, but I don't think the media will key on me until we play Arkansas State University. It won't be a negative thing, it will be more of a Brandon vs. Brooks thing to get the ticket sales up out here. (Jonesboro)
Q. What are you most proud of in regard to your personal awards?
A. I am proud of setting our school scoring record. I always wanted to do that. I can't say I didn't. You don't mean not to score points. It doesn't happen accidentally. I am happy about that, and I am happy I scored 61 and set the single game scoring record in front of that large crowd at Marmaduke in the District finals against Maynard. We really wanted to play Maynard again because they said they wanted to play us. I am glad of those two accomplishments.
Q. What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses as a player?
A. My strength is not wanting to lose. It's my will to win and to do whatever it takes. My weakness may be that I want to win too much sometimes. I just feel like sometimes I need to calm down because I want to win so much.
Q. Is there one team you want to beat more than any other?
A. Jonesboro, because they are a AAAAA school. People can say what they want, but Jonesboro looks down on AA schools. That's just part of it. If I went to a AAAAA school, I would look down on AA schools too. In AA, you are going to face weak competition sometimes. That's why so many people go to the Jonesboro-BIC game, just to see how I compare to them. If you want to be a big name player, that is the kind of game where you have to step up. My junior year I had an awful game against Jonesboro, so I knew I had to have a good game this year or people would say I am not that good.
Q. Talk about the Riverside rivalry.
A. It's fun, but I never really had a good game against them. I never did. It just seems like I was always just one shot away from getting hot. The rivalry is awesome between us. It's a great rivalry, but not in wins and losses, because they only beat us once in my four years, and that loss really helped us. But it is fun and a great rivalry because of all the people who show up for the games. There is nothing like Tuesday and Friday night high school basketball, and the excitement that goes with it. I am going to miss the excitement and fun of high school basketball. There is nothing else like it.
Q. Is the rivalry with Riverside the biggest in the area?
A. We have been all around the state, and I don't see any rivalry better than this anywhere else in the state. In AAAAA, you get bigger student sections, because there are more students. But you don't get a better rivalry, because we are so close. The larger schools can't compare because they are not as close together. There is nothing like it. You also see each other in baseball and you don't get a break from each other, which makes it more intense.
Q. What happened in the game against Riverside in the Northeast Arkansas Invitational Tournament?
A. I wish I had it to do over again. I give all the credit in the world to Riverside. I didn't work hard for the ball that night. It seemed like I got tired and wasn't into the game. I did get frustrated, but I knew the game plan was to frustrate me, and the times I was supposed to be frustrated I was just tired. I just wanted to get the game over with. It was just one of those games I just wanted to get over with. Riverside played good though.
Q. Who is the best team you have ever played against?
A. Boliver, Tenn. They were really good. One of their guys went to Memphis and one went to Tennessee.
Q. If you weren't going to college to play basketball, what would you want to do?
A. I would want to be an ESPN sportscaster.
Q. What do you like to do when you aren't playing sports?
A. I love to play Nintendo and I like to play ping pong. I like watching a lot of television, and chasing girls. Chasing girls is probably number one. But going to South Alabama has really hurt my game lately, because no girls want to get in a relationship with me because I'll be going off to college.
Q. A lot of people expected you to go to Arkansas State. What happened there?
A. It just all came down to I like to be different. That's all it came down to, and I don't like people to jump the gun and say, well he's going to go here just because this person went there. The main thing is I will just go where I want to go, if my talent allows me. I am getting a chance to go to South Alabama, and they made the NCAA Tournament. We couldn't read the future on that, but I guess we got lucky there.
Q. How great would it be for a kid from BIC to get to play in the NCAA Tournament?
A. It would be cool. It would be like winning another State Championship.
Q. Was there ever a rivalry between you and Brandon (Ballard)?
A. People made it a rivalry. It was kind of like Dad and Gaylon (Taylor), but it really wasn't there. I know I have never said anything to make it a rivalry. I am not speaking for him, but I don't really think he has said anything. There is no reason there should be a rivalry, I don't really understand that. In the eighth grade he pushed me a lot to be better and then I took it on myself that eighth grade summer to get better.
Next week begins a three part interview with Buffalo Island Central Coach Bill Taylor.