Incoming guard Taylor likely headed to Gulf Coast
Boca Ciega guard Tamara Taylor, who signed with USF in November and averaged 26 points per game as a senior, likely won't attend USF this fall because she has not been able to post a passing score on the FCAT standardized test.
Taylor, who committed to USF in March 2010, could attend a prep school but said she talked Thursday with coaches at Gulf Coast Community College, a successful junior college in Pensacola that has sent six players to USF in recent years, including current guards Andrea and Andrell Smith and incoming center Caitlin Rowe.
Without a passing FCAT score, Taylor receives a certificate of completion instead of a diploma, but she can attend Gulf Coast, then after earning her associate of arts degree, move on to USF. Taylor's grade-point average and entrance exam scores meet the NCAA's eligibility requirements, but the FCAT remains an obstacle to her admission to USF. She still has an opportunity to take the ACT exam next month, and a strong enough score there can take the place of the passing FCAT score, but Taylor said Thursday that she believed that would be too late for her to be admitted into USF for the upcoming season.
Taylor led Boca Ciega to three straight Final Fours, though she wasn't likely to play a significant role at USF as a freshman because of strong returning depth in the backcourt. The Bulls have four returning guards with at least 25 career starts in Andrea and Andrell Smith, KaNeisha Saunders and Jasmine Wynne. Taylor said her goal is to get to USF in two years, following the same model the Smith twins took after not qualifying out of Lake Gibson High School in 2008.
USF's other incoming freshman, guard Shalethia Stringfield of Jacksonville, said Thursday she is fully qualified and will start summer classes at USF next month. The Bulls also signed Rowe and top junior college guard Inga Orekhova, who is finishing classes this summer and is expected to enroll at USF for the fall semester.