Sat. Apr 13th, 2024

Open Gym Thoughts: Princeton will be just fine

3 min read

The Princeton varsity basketball team enters this season fresh off a 23-3 campaign a year ago with three of their top four scorers back.

Juniors Jaheim Taylor, Tyreese Joyner and sophomore Nayshin Waller are all back to lead the Bulldogs. Taylor led Princeton in scoring with 16.6 points per game, also adding 3 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 3 steals to his per game totals. Taylor is a shifty, cold hearted bucket getter. There’s a not a shot on the floor that he doesn’t think he can make — and for the most part, he’s not wrong. His array of scoop shots, floaters, runners and accuracy on tough shots will make him a nightmare for the 1-A Carolina Conference. Taylor’s game is as loud as he is. I expect Taylor to be a 20 point per game scorer and to improve his assists number as his playmaking skills grew this summer.

Joyner and Waller both return averaging double digits scoring figures. Joyner led the team in assists and is the best returning rebounder while averaging 2.4 steals per game. Waller was second on the team in assists and is the second best returning rebounder while averaging 2.4 steals per game.

Joyner is a 6-foot-2 naturally built ox of a player. His bull strength mixed with uber athleticism should give post players a fit on the low block. I expect Joyner to increase his rebounding totals and push his points up to closer to 15 a night while still being a good defender and passer.

Waller spent his summer playing point guard for Garner Road, one of the premiere AAU programs in the state, and will be playing with the ball in his hands much more this season. Waller is a Swiss Army knife as a player and will be expected to carry a heavy load for the Bulldogs as the main initiator who will also have to get his own offense and possibly guard the best perimeter player.  

Aden Taylor, Jaheim’s younger brother, is expected to be on the varsity team as a heady 5-foot-10 guard who backs down to no one. Aden is the opposite of his brother. He’s quiet, more of a playmaker than scorer but if he can contribute right away, he makes the Bulldogs very dangerous. 

Zion McPhatter led the JV team to a conference title and even got some minutes at the varsity level last year. McPhatter will make his mark as a sharpshooter, ball handler and energy player this season. 

Head coach David Cobb expects to see more players venture in the gym as football and soccer season ends, but as of right now he’s enjoying the competitive fire from his players thus far. Cobb knows the Bulldogs will be undersized as 1-A Carolina Conference Player of the Year and team leader Colby Sullivan has graduated along with Alan Farrior, Garrett Klein and Zach Garris down low, but he expects the Bulldogs to be super competitive.

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