Prep Basketball: South’s Taylor May signs with Catawba
By Mike London
LANDIS ó Sometimes talent is obvious, and Angie Morton knew after 30 seconds Taylor May had a chance to be someone special.
May was big for a 12-year-old, but she was coordinated. Maybe it was the crossover dribble that first caught Morton’s eye. Or maybe it was the 3-pointer that swished.
“I’ve been watching Taylor closely since she was in seventh grade,” said Morton, who coached Pfeiffer before she took the Catawba job in “I thought even then she could become a great player.”May, now a South Rowan senior, signed with Morton’s Catawba’s women’s basketball program recently.
May, a regular at Catawba camps since she was 8 years old, is as thrilled as Morton.
“Oh, yeah, I remember Coach Morton telling me years ago I might look good in a Catawba uniform someday,” May said with a laugh. “Now it’s going to happen.”
The 6-foot May has developed into one of Rowan County’s top all-round athletes. She’s been the county’s strongest volleyball player the best two seasons, she’s a versatile all-county basketball player, and she was fifth in the 3A state track meet in the discus as a junior.
The toughest recruiting dilemma for May was whether to play volleyball, a sport in which she’s been dominant, or basketball, a sport in which she’s been very good.
She’s been a kill waiting to happen the last two seasons when she’s been near a volleyball net.
“The first scholarship offer I got was from Wingate for volleyball,” May said. “Lenoir-Rhyne was interested in me for volleyball, but the basketball deal Catawba offered was the sweetest. I can pretty much go free.”
May said she attended a Catawba volleyball practice two weeks ago and discussed the future with Hall of Fame coach Ginger Hamric.
Volleyball seasons begin in August and continue well past the start of basketball practice. Catawba just concluded its recent run to the Southeast Regional final.
“Volleyball does a lot in the spring also, so it would be very hard to play both sports,” May said. “But I’ll have some volleyball options, and Coach Hamric told me I can come out whenever I want to. I won’t play volleyball my freshman year, but I also don’t know how much I’m going to miss it.”In basketball, May has been a four-year starter for the Raiders. She averaged 8.1 points a game as a freshman, 10.3 as a sophomore and 11.2 as a junior.
She entered the current season with 628 career points and has twice scored 27 points in a game.
May’s senior season got off to a shaky start in a loss against Salisbury, but she had the 24th double-figure game of her career on Tuesday at A.L. Brown and did the things Morton believes she can do at Catawba. She was flying for aggressive rebounds, sneaking into passing lanes, leading fastbreaks and finishing breaks.
“Taylor has size, she’s strong, she’s tough, she can shoot, and she can handle,” Morton said. “And it’s always a plus for us when we can get a local girl.”
May wanted to stay close to home, and Catawba was where she was most comfortable. Her cousin, Brittany Barnhardt, went to school at Catawba, her aunt Stacey Barnhardt worked there for years, and she knows Catawba people such as Chip and Trish Hester very well.
“The only advice I gave Taylor was go where you’re comfortable and Catawba is where it felt right,” South coach Jim Brooks said. “I think Catawba got a steal and Coach Morton got someone who is going to be a pleasure to coach. Taylor never misses practice, never complains, never gets sick.”
May has met some of the Catawba’s players he’ll be joining on the court and is impressed.
“That freshman Pamela Muldrow is just awesome,” May said. “Coach Morton said her hero is Michael Jordan and you can tell by the way she goes all out.”
May also likes the way Morton gets after it.
“I love her, love the passion she has to win,” May said. “I went to see Catawba play Pfeiffer the other night. Catawba’s up by 20, and she’s still ripping into a ref.
“Man, I loved that.”
May will match her coach’s intensity. She doesn’t hold anything back.
“Taylor’s one of those self-motivated people,” Brooks said. “She’s not someone Catawba is going to have to fire up.”