Guards look to have big season for Trojans
With the dawn of the regular season approaching, the Troy Trojans are putting in the final preparations before Friday’s home opener against Huntingdon College.
While the team may be one of the youngest the program has had in recent years, there is still a lot of talent on the court, particularly at the guard position.
Leading the way for the Trojans is senior guard Vernon Taylor.
Taylor will be one of just three returning players who averaged double-digits last season.
Like how the seniors from last season’s team treated Taylor, the guard will be looking to do the same for the younger team in the coming months.
“The seniors really led me (last season),” Taylor said. “And I found a way to fit in.
“I want to do the same kind of thing for the other guys on this team and be a good leader for them.”
With the new personnel on the floor for the Trojans, Taylor said while his style of play is going to change the way he plays the game will not.
“I got to find a way to really bring the same kind of energy and intensity to the floor like I did last season,” Taylor said. “That’s what I have been working on for this season.
“Last season, I played a really fast paced game. But this season, I am going to change my style and slow things down and try and reserve some of the energy.
“When I slow my game down, I can still create a lot of problems because I’m still faster than most of the guys on the court even when I’m not at full speed,” he said.
Taylor saw action in all 32 games last season in a reserve role, scoring a total of 231 points, an average of seven points per game, and also bringing down 105 rebounds.
In Monday’s exhibition game against West Alabama, Taylor played 29 minutes, scoring 13 points.
Along with Taylor, seniors Regis Huddleston and Travis Lee will be looking to contribute for Troy at the guard position.
Lee and Huddleston, both of who were red shirted last season, played two seasons ago for the Trojans in limited minutes.
Now, things have changed quite a bit.
“I’m looking to be a leader on the floor,” Huddleston said before Wednesday’s practice.
“I have some more experience than some of the guys so I want to help move this team along through the learning process. We are going to get a lot experience early on in the season playing some of the teams we are playing. We have a tough schedule, but I think that is something that can make us a better team.”
In his start against West Alabama Monday night, Huddleston played 26 minutes, finishing with a game-high 19 points.
Lee will have to wait for his time on the court.
During a procedure to remove a cyst on his right knee, doctors discovered loose bone fragments that had to be removed, which in the process meant Lee would be forced to miss the first two weeks of the season.
“I try to look at (the injury) positively,” Lee said.
“I still get to play this season. It’s not as bad as it maybe could be – but I want to play on Friday. I have been practicing more and more the past couple of weeks with the team so hopefully, I will be ready.”
Lee played in 32 games with five starts during the 2008-09 season.
In those games, Lee finished third on the team with 41 3-pointers as well as a team best 85.7 percent from the free throw line.
When he is able to, the guard said he is looking to help the team whatever way he can.
“I think the main thing for me is to lead by example both on and off the court.
“This team has been coming together pretty well over the past couple of weeks in practice and that is something that I believe will continue to happen. We are ahead of where we were two years ago at this point as far as understanding the offense and that is important.”