Donora native scores with IUP Hall of Fame induction
Nearly 20 years after helping transform Indiana University of Pennsylvania's men's basketball program from competitive to a regional and national power, Yancey Taylor will receive the school's highest athletic honor.
A Donora native and graduate of Ringgold High School, Taylor is one of 15 individuals who will be part of IUP's 2013 Hall of Fame Class, which will be recognized during the Sept. 14 football home game against Cheyney University.
Versatile, the 6-foot-5-inch, 210-pound guard-forward could play all five positions on the court. Taylor earned first-team, all-conference honors three consecutive years from 1993 through 1995. He was a second-team National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-American selection in both 1994 and 1995. He transferred to IUP after brief stints at Potomac State and Missouri Valley junior colleges.
During his junior season, Taylor was selected the 1994 Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division Player of the Year after helping the then-called Indians compile a 27-3 final overall record. IUP made its first-ever NCAA Division II Tournament appearance a memorable one that season by winning the NCAA East Regional before falling to eventual national champion Cal State-Bakersfield in the quarterfinals. IUP opened the season with 24 straight wins, which remains the team's longest winning streak in school history.
Taylor was selected the regional tourney Most Valuable Player after helping IUP earn comeback wins over Edinboro and California University in games contested at the Vulcans' Hamer Hall. In the regional finals he scored 18 points with eight assists and four rebounds.
The following year, IUP rolled to a school-best 29-2 overall record (.935 wining percentage) and its first conference title in 21 years. The program also attained its first-ever national ranking of first. IUP again won the regional championship and also defeated Central Missouri by 11 points in the quarterfinals before falling to California-Riverside in the national semifinals.
Again at his best during the biggest games, Taylor scored IUP's last nine points in an 11-point win in the 1995 regional final and finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists. In the conference title win he scored 16 points with nine assists and four rebounds.
In 1992-93, Taylor helped IUP reach the PSAC semifinals for the first time in seven years and compile an 18-9 final overall record. He led the team in scoring that season, averaging 17.8 points per game.
Taylor finished with career collegiate totals of 1,257 points (15. 1ppg), 406 assists and 424 free throws. His career free throws and assists rank third and fourth respectively in school history while his 53.6 career field goal percentage is 10th and scoring total is 17th.
He played professionally overseas in Italy and Germany for seven years following his IUP days. Taylor was a key contributor for the Krefeld Panthers Basketball Club winning two league championships.
At Ringgold High School, Taylor is still the Rams' career leader in scoring (1,626), assists (437), and three-point baskets (108) as well as the single-season leader in scoring (700) and steals (107).
A four-year scholastic starter, Taylor led the Rams to the 1990 WPIAL Class AAAA championship and an appearance in the PIAA state championship finals.
At Ringgold, Taylor's coach was Phil Pergola, who is now the athletic director and boys' basketball head coach at California Area High School.
His coach at IUP was Kurt Kanaskie, who is now an assistant coach at Virginia Tech.
“There was no secret that Yancey was the one we wanted to have the ball late in the game,” said Kanaskie, who left IUP to be the head coach at Drake and then assisted Ed DeChellis at Penn State. “He was an excellent passer with great vision on the court. Yancey was also a clutch foul shooter, makes the right decisions and simply made the plays.”
Taylor lives in Rostraver Township and is a sales rep for a New York-based entertainment company. He is proud of the honor he is going to receive and remembers his collegiate teams well.
“I just got so pumped up out there and always wanted to go hard,” Taylor said. “I liked the pressure and wanted the ball. At IUP we had such a talented team, which gave me so many options. I could drive, finger-roll or kick it back out to someone, and I always knew we'd score.”
As was the case so many times during his playing days Taylor will again get the final score this September, and it will be a big and everlasting one.
Bruce Wald is a contributing writer to Trib Total Media.