- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
FIRST STEPS: As a toddler, Taylor tagged along to her older sister Symone's lessons and became, in her mom Shelia's words, "a club rat" by age five. Taylor now lives and trains at the USTA Training Center in Boca Raton, Fla., where she will be a junior in the fall.
EVOKES: She is often hailed as the next Venus or Serena Williams, but her aggressive style of play at the net more closely mirrors that of her idol, Martina Navratilova, who also wore glasses, played lefthanded and wasn't afraid to charge the net. "She can keep [opponents] off-balance because they don't know what she's going to do," Shelia says.
COACH'S COMMENT: "Taylor is athletic and works hard, but her greatest quality is her attitude. She has a champion's mentality," says her coach, Kathy Rinaldi, a former world No. 7.
WHAT'S NEXT: Taylor is playing in the juniors at Wimbledon. Then it's on to two tournaments on the pro circuit, the hardcourt nationals in San Diego in August and the U.S. Open in September.
16 | Basketball | Chicago
ACHIEVEMENTS: Ranked by Rivals.com as the top big man and overall No. 3 player in the class of 2014, the 6' 10" sophomore averaged 21.9 points and 12.3 rebounds for Chicago's Whitney Young High, leading the Dolphins to the Illinois Class 4A Sectional semifinals. Jahlil scored 14.6 points and grabbed 9.2 boards at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship last summer, helping the U.S. to a gold medal.
FIRST STEPS: A distant cousin of NBA center Emeka Okafor, Jahlil was playing with a basketball before he turned one, and the first of his three AAU national titles came in third grade.
EVOKES: Shaquille O'Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon. "Jahlil is capable of dominating a game [like Shaq]," says Whitney Young coach Tyrone Slaughter, "but he's closer to Olajuwon in his skill set. He'll be able to beat college and pro players because of his incredible technique."
COACH'S COMMENT: "He's so hungry to get better," says Slaughter. "Last summer he was playing on the junior USA team in Mexico, and the night he got back to Chicago he called me up to make sure he could get in the gym the next afternoon."