Brentwood, TN – To the great surprise of only the truly unobservant, Austin Peay State University (APSU) senior men’s basketball player Terry Taylor has been named Ohio Valley Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year—again.
Taylor is the 15th player in league history to earn back-to-back nods as the OVC’s most outstanding player, joining a list of luminaries including Austin Peay State University legend Otis Howard and future NBA players in Murray State’s Isaiah Canaan, Morehead State’s Kenneth Faried, Tennessee State’s Carlos Rogers, Murray State’s Popeye Jones, and Western Kentucky’s Jim McDaniels—just to illustrate the list of legends Taylor just joined.
The reigning Player of the Year and two-time Preseason Player of the Year, Taylor also was named first-team All-OVC for the fourth straight season—he’s only the third player in league history to earn that accolade four times, joining Eastern Kentucky’s Nick Mayo and Western Kentucky’s Ralph Crosthwaite, who did so roughly 60 years apart.
The case for Taylor has not wavered at any point during his senior campaign: he leads the league in scoring (21.7 ppg), rebounding (11.0 rpg), minutes (37.1 mpg), and offensive rebounding (5.1 orpg), with more than his share of the load in free-throw shooting (third, 80.2 percent), defensive rebounds (third, 5.9 drpg), blocked shots (ninth, 0.9 bpg) and field goal percentage (11th, 52.3 percent).
On the national level, Bowling Green, Kentucky product is even more impressive. He enters the OVC Tournament leading Division I in offensive rebounds per game and double-doubles (19), while ranking in the nation’s top-10 in seven other categories, including points and rebounds per game.
Last season, he was the only player in Division I to rank among the top-15 in both categories; this season, he’s the only player in the top-10. He would be the first player since at least the turn of the century to rank in the top-15 in both categories in back-to-back seasons if those rankings hold.
Two players during the 2020-21 season have averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per night across all of Division I—one is Loyola Maryland’s Santi Aldama and the other is Taylor, for the second year in a row. Taylor, Aldama, and The Citadel’s Hayden Brown are the only Division I players leading their respective leagues in scoring and rebounding, which Taylor has, once more, now done twice in a row.
If these things seem unfathomable to put into context, it’s because Taylor’s exploits involve research that, quite simply, few people have ever been good enough to warrant before now.
There is of course the small matter of what Taylor has done this season to shape his narrative as one of the greatest players in school history. Already he’s the all-time leader in scoring (2,488 points), field goals made (959), and field goals attempted (1,787). He’s also among the program’s top-10 in rebounding, free-throws made, free-throws attempted, blocked shots and three-pointers attempted, with a chance to add top-10 marks in steals and three-pointers made before he’s finished.
Among peers, Taylor has few: he’s the nation’s active career leader in field goals made, rebounds (1,232), consecutive starts (126), and double-doubles (61), and is less than 20 points from being the nation’s active leading scorer. In all, he can be considered nothing less than one of the 10 or so best active upperclassmen in Division I by a statistical perspective, ranking among the top-10 in eight categories.
As this honor encompasses his final season in an Austin Peay State University uniform, it’s fitting to include the highlights from yet another exemplary campaign.
- In the season’s second game against East Tennessee State, he posted 25 points and 16 boards, including 10 on the offensive glass.
- Thirty points and 13 rebounds in his final appearance at Murray State, leading not only to OVC Player of the Week honors by CollegeSportsMadness.com Mid-Major Player of the Week and CollegeInsider.com Lute Olson National Player of the Week as well.
- League single-game season-highs in scoring (38 points) and rebounding (17) at Eastern Illinois, with a banked-in game-winning three at the final buzzer to secure a Governor win.
- On the same night he set Austin Peay State University’s career scoring record, he put up 30 points and 14 rebounds at Eastern Kentucky while also equaling a season-high with four assists. This performance came in the same week he became the third player in league history to earn United States Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Week honors.
- In back-to-back games against Southeast Missouri, Taylor averaged 30.5 points, 15.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, 1.0 steals and 2.0 assists while hitting 52.6 percent (20-for-38) from the floor and 78.3 percent (18-for-23) at the free-throw line.
- A fourth straight 500-point season, the first player in program history to achieve such a feat.
Taylor earned or shared five OVC Player of the Week honors over his final season; he will end his career with 17 OVC Player of the Week honors, two more than any other player in OVC history.
Taylor and his teammates are gearing up for their OVC Tournament run, which kicks off 9:30pm, Thursday, March 4th against third-seeded Eastern Kentucky from the Ford Center in Evansville, Indiana.