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New sport, same results for Duquesne's Kellon Taylor

Jerry DiPaola
| Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, 5:51 p.m.
Duquesne's Kellon Taylor plays against Richmond Jan. 2018 at A.J. Palumbo Center.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Duquesne's Kellon Taylor plays against Richmond Jan. 2018 at A.J. Palumbo Center.

When the alarm next to Duquesne basketball player Kellon Taylor's bed breaks the morning silence, he spends only a brief moment asking himself, “Why?”

Why — after a summer of training to play football and then catching 20 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns — does he insist on putting his body through another season?

The answer is simple: “This is what I asked for,” he said.

Taylor, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound sophomore from Washington D.C., is the basketball team's leading rebounder off the bench (4.3 per game). He has played all but three games — even started once nine days after the last football game — and has logged the third-most minutes (20.1) among players who aren't in the starting lineup regularly.

Taylor doesn't shoot much, averaging 3.5 points, but he's the only regular who has made more than half of his shots (30 of 55).

And he will be in coach Keith Dambrot's rotation Wednesday when the Dukes (15-9, 6-5 Atlantic 10) visit Dayton (10-12, 4-6).

“Of course, your body is going to be pretty sore,” said Taylor, who was recruited out of DeMatha (Md.) Catholic to play wide receiver by Boston College and Virginia Tech. “I'm actually feeling pretty good.

“I train year-round. Coach (John) Henderson (Duquesne's associate athletic director for sports performance) trains my body just for moments like these.

“I'd be lying if I said (sleeping through the alarm) didn't go through your head once in a while, but it's a mental thing. Even guys who are playing one sport, they go through that mental block — ‘I don't feel like getting up today' — but, hey, you just push through it. I'm a competitor. I love to compete.”

Before coming to Duquesne, Dambrot never had coached a collegiate athlete who played football and basketball, but he had several in high school, including LeBron James.

“The difference was they were basketball players playing football,” Dambrot said. “They really cared more about basketball than football.”

Taylor went to Duquesne because it was one of the few schools that respected his wish to play both sports.

“Everybody would say I'm a football player first,” said Taylor, who is on scholarship for football. “But in my opinion, I'm just think I'm an athlete. I like to play both. Both sports come easy to me.”

Dambrot isn't sure if Taylor is a basketball player playing football or football player playing basketball. He just likes his attitude.

“He's so outgoing that nothing fazes him,” he said. “He thinks he's an All-American. When you think you're an All-American and you're out there having fun, he doesn't look like he's hit the wall at all. He looks like he's better, actually.”

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.

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