Marcus Taylor garnered many individual accolades during a decorated prep basketball career at Waverly High School where he established himself as one of the nation’s best players.
But a state title was the thing that would complete his varsity career, he told the State Journal at the time.
And he helped make that happen for Waverly in 2000.
Taylor, who was the state’s Mr. Basketball that year, was one of the driving forces on the Waverly boys basketball team that captured the program’s first state title. And he and the Phil Odlum-led Warrior championship team will be recognized later this month when they are inducted into the Greater Lansing Sports Hall of Fame.
Waverly captured the Class A state title with a 75-63 victory over Detroit Pershing to complete a season it finished 25-2.
“I think what happens when you have a group of such talented players, the hardest thing is when coaching them is to get them to be a team and play together and put all their egos aside when they step on to the court,” Odlum said. “They did that, they understood that. That’s what really helped us.”
Taylor, who went on to play at Michigan State, was the headliner but was joined by Cortney Scott, and both were the leaders of the Warriors. Scott, who averaged 15 points and nine rebounds, went on to play at Iowa before concluding his career at Oakland University.
Terry Reddick and Melvin White each joined Scott and Taylor by scoring in double figures in the title-clinching win. White went on to play at Lansing Community College and Grand Valley State University.
Waverly won league and district titles in 1999, but had its run halted that year with a regional finals loss to Benton Harbor. With plenty of talent returning from that team, the Warriors chased their goals one step at a time with the initial focus on winning a third straight league title.
“Then when we got going (in the state tournament), we kept looking down the line to who we would play,” Odlum said. “We had already played some good teams during the year. We had played Saginaw High during a tournament at Breslin and lost to them and were kind of hoping we’d get to play them again. It wasn’t revenge or anything, but we thought we could do a lot better job if we got to play them again. As it lucked out, we played them in the semis and came from behind to beat them.
“The team just grew as the season went along not only as players but as teammates. That’s what really helped us.”
Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame
What: 41st Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony
When/Where: July 28 at the Lansing Center; dinner is scheduled for 5:45 p.m., followed by the ceremony at 6:45.
Admission: $35 (Reserved seating only, no ticket sales at door). Go to lansingsportshalloffame.org or call Bob Every at 517-484-0677.
Sponsors: Magic Johnson Enterprises, Dean Transportation, Auto Owner Insurance , Applegate Home Comfort, Dan Henry Distributing and Two Men And A Truck.
Race fundraiser: The Run for Fame 5K/10K Run/Walk will be July 31 in Lansing. Entry details at playmakers.com.