The subject of this week’s player spotlight is Gulliver Prep’s dynamic point guard Gabe Taylor. He is the conductor for one of the most talented teams in Dade County. The Raiders are in its first season under head coach Gary Decesare, who took over the program this summer. The senior talked about what he feels are his strengths on the floor.
“One of my strengths is I can score off the ball and with the ball,” said Taylor. “I also have strong quickness and shiftiness. I also take pride in being a leader.”
Taylor, who is the younger brother of football legend Sean Taylor, competed for the Gulliver football team this year and had a breakout season. The 5 foot 10 senior’s primary position was cornerback but he also played running back and wildcat quarterback. He excelled on the gridiron with 10 interceptions and had 8 touchdowns (5 on interceptions and 3 on offense). He acquired offers from Akron, Bryant, Coastal Carolina, Jackson State, and Rhode Island due to his play. Now he is participating in the final season of his high school basketball career, he talked about his goals for his senior season and what sport he plans to play in college.
“I want to play basketball and football in college. My personal goal for this season is to make sure everyone is doing well on and off the court. My team's goal is to win states. I do not think anyone in Miami can beat us.”
The Raiders were very impressive with a tournament championship in their own Holiday Classic over Christmas break. Taylor averaged 21 points per game in big victories over North Miami Beach, Coral Gables, and Miami Beach. Gulliver won all the games by at least a margin of 16 points. They are undefeated in the state of Florida with their only losses coming in a national tournament in California. Taylor recapped his team’s play in their Christmas tournament.
“We just bought into the system. We play hard on both sides of the ball. We have a lot of defensive players that can get into the other teams head and we just take over from there.”
Coach Gary DeCesare comes to Gulliver after coaching 10 seasons at S.Rita in Chicago. He had other coaching tenures at Depaul as an assistant coach and at St. Raymonds in New York (he led the school to two state championships). He has employed an uptempo style with Gulliver and runs the offense through Taylor and Tony Sanders. Taylor discussed the impact his new coach is having on the program.
“Coach D is a great coach. He is a McDonald’s All American coach for a reason. He trusts me with the ball and I feel comfortable with whatever I do. If I am missing shots, he trusts me to keep shooting. Also the team trusts the system and we play together with no problem. We are not selfish and everyone is happy for one another even if somebody is having a bad game.”
Gulliver is a legitimate state title contender in 4a and will have to battle with power programs like University School, Stranahan, and North Broward Prep in order to win their region and earn a trip to Lakeland. Taylor and Sanders form one of the top duos in the state and give the Raiders a chance to win every night. Taylor is having a great season. He talked about his team’s mentality and what he loves about the game.
“I love competition and the beauty of teamwork. We just want all the smoke. We fear nobody. It is time to step up to the plate this season.”
It will be interesting to see how far Taylor can help lead this Gulliver squad this season. He is certainly a college basketball prospect and will have plenty of options for his college decision. He has been a stalwart in the Dade County basketball scene and we look forward to seeing a phenomenal finish to his prep career.