Monday, February 6, 2017

Sloan Shines In Return To Taylor County

Richard Gatewood and David Sloan were back at Taylor County High School on Sunday afternoon.

One year later, however, the tandem was not helping TCHS earn a third consecutive berth in the state tournament as one would initially envision.

Key figures in Taylor County’s ascension to Kentucky High School hoops prominence, Gatewood and Sloan instead were on opposite sides of the court.

Sloan scored 16 points in helping his Conrad Academy (FL) team stamp an 82-61 victory over Gatewood-coached 22 Feet (S.C.) during the Grind Session’s Heartland Hooparama.

 Luguentz Dort, one of the nation’s most underrated Class of 2018 prospects, bulldozed his way to a game-high 36 points to lead Conrad.

 "It was definitely our best defensive effort of the year," Conrad head coach Shaun Wiseman said.

"I was pleased with the toughness and tenacity they showed on defense throughout the second half. The fans gave David a great ovation and it was clear they were happy to see him back there. It was a nice reunion for both those guys, David and Coach Gatewood. Obviously both guys had pretty big contributions at Taylor County and the fan base showed they were appreciative of it and their chapter in the school's basketball history here."

 Gatewood, as you may recall, is the coach who helped revitalize the Taylor County basketball brand with a rigorous 12-month program and ramped up non-conference schedule.

 Sloan, the high-scoring 5-foot-11 point guard, starred alongside Quentin Goodin (Xavier). Both were treated to an emotional ovation from the crowd.

Many in the Taylor County Community tried to persuade Gatewood not to leave for 22 Feet Academy, expressing disappointment.

Sloan also had a fair share of people in his ear, imploring him not to leave the situation he had helped create at perennial contender Taylor County.

In a perfect world, both would have stayed and relished the basketball-crazed community and massive fan support.

Gatewood, who aspires to eventually break into the college coaching world, was offered a position at 22 Feet that suited him both financially and as a career move.

Sloan transferred to Ballard directly after the season’s end, citing a desire to be with his family and play before his home city in Louisville as a senior. His abrupt transfer was met with stern action by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association.

After a long and arduous process, the KHSAA ultimately ruled Sloan ineligible. Faced with the prospect of having to sit out his senior year, Sloan transferred to the Conrad Academy in Orlando.

At Conrad, Sloan had the opportunity to play alongside 6-foot-11 Austin Wiley (now at Auburn). He’s risen into a major presence as the team’s quarterback and supplementary scoring piece to the flashy 6-foot-4, 215-pound man-child Dort.

Sloan initially received interest from programs such as Louisville, Florida, and Tennessee. Now he’s shaping into a mid-major recruit who has the potential to be a steal at a program such as Florida Gulf Coast, IUPUI, or Bradley.

Sloan continued to stake his claim as one of the country’s more unheralded still-available Class of 2017 recruits Saturday, scoring 32 points in TCA’s loss to Hillcrest (AZ).