June 19, 2024

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Jacquil Taylor carries on Cambridge tradition

Any time a promising player makes his way through the Cambridge basketball program, the inevitable comparisons to Patrick Ewing begin.

The latest prodigy is 6-foot-8 sophomore Jacquil Taylor. Long and lean, Taylor is averaging more than 14 points and nearly five blocks a game for the top-ranked Falcons. With each passing contest, Taylor sees his name beginning to rise nationally.

Cambridge coach Lance Dottin knows all about expectations, having starred in the backcourt for the Falcons in the mid-1980s. He cautions those who want to call Taylor the next Ewing to slow down the enthusiasm just a tad.

“It is unfair because of what Patrick was able to accomplish in high school, both as an individual and as part of a (winning) team,” Dottin said. “But this young man is special, he’s developing every single day. As I’ve stated before, he’s the first one in the gym and the last one out.

“He has the desire and determination to become better. You can see that he’s come a long way offensively since his freshman year.”

Taylor might be only 15, but he knows the tradition of Cambridge basketball. Alumni always can be spotted at War Memorial Gymnasium during games, chatting with Taylor afterward.

“I know it’s a special thing to wear the Cambridge uniform,” the soft-spoken Taylor said. “I’ve heard about the past, I’ve been told that (Ewing) was a special player here.”

Dottin knows he has a potential gem in Taylor, who is ranked among the top five public players in New England for the class of 2013. That’s precisely why Dottin is pushing the envelope this season, asking more of his sophomore sensation.

“He’s 15 years old, he’s still a baby, but for us, now is the time for Jacquil to step up, and we need him to step up,” Dottin said. “There is a lot of great competition in the North, and we think he gives us a chance.”

Dottin isn’t referring to winning the Greater Boston League title. The measuring stick in Cambridge isn’t how many points you score or how many rebounds you snare. It’s all about the ultimate team prize in high school basketball — the Division 1 state title.

“That’s our only goal, to win it all,” said Taylor, without a hint of cockiness. “We need to stay humble, stay focused and work hard every single day.”

Just like Patrick Ewing did in his heyday.

Do you have a similar story in your community? Let us know at dventura@bostonherald.com or e-mail your own Hot Shots-worthy video (max. 25 megabytes) to hotshots@heraldinteractive.com.

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