During the ceremony to celebrate Stevie Taylor's scholarship to Ohio University last Friday, Gahanna Lincoln High School boys basketball coach Tony Staib talked about how he and Taylor have "sort of grown up together."

During the ceremony to celebrate Stevie Taylor's scholarship to Ohio University last Friday, Gahanna Lincoln High School boys basketball coach Tony Staib talked about how he and Taylor have "sort of grown up together."

While Staib has helped the Lions progress into a Central District power as he enters his ninth season as coach, Taylor began participating in drills with Gahanna's high school players while he was still in middle school.

Taylor joined the varsity as a freshman and has since emerged as one of the state's best guards.

The 5-foot-11 senior verbally committed to play for the Bobcats last July after also considering Charlotte, Miami, Nebraska and Richmond.

"The Taylor family has kind of helped put Gahanna basketball on the map," Staib said of Stevie Taylor and Robbie Taylor, a junior at Mount Vernon Nazarene College who was a senior with the Lions when Stevie was a freshman. "(Stevie Taylor is) going to walk out of here with a lot of accomplishments like OCC, district and regional titles. He's knocking on the door of being the all-time leading scorer at Gahanna.

"He just possesses all of the qualities of a Division I guard in that he can pass the ball and shoot the ball, and he can shoot the 3 well. He really doesn't have a weakness. The biggest part of the game he's improved in is that he does a great job of making his teammates better."

Taylor, who enters the season with 1,024 career points, averaged 17.2 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 steals last season as the Lions finished 26-1. He passed 1,000 points for his career and scored 19 during Gahanna's 71-45 victory over Northland in a regional final. He had seven points in the Lions' 62-50 loss to Massillon Jackson in a state semifinal.

Taylor needs 239 points to become the all-time leading scorer at Gahanna.

He will be joining an Ohio program that made it to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2005 last March. The Bobcats beat Georgetown 97-83 in the first round before falling to Tennessee 83-68 to finish with an 18-15 record. Ohio finished just 7-9 in the MAC during the regular season but won the conference tournament as the ninth seed.

Gahanna is coming off a season in which it became the first team in program history to go 20-0 during the regular season, the first to win a district title and the first to win a regional title. The Lions went 14-0 in the OCC-Ohio Division.

Taylor suffered a partially cracked tibia at Ohio State's team camp in early June and accepted the Bobcats' scholarship offer shortly after.

"I like coach (John) Groce, and it feels like a family to me," Taylor said of playing for the Bobcats. "It's close to home. They've got a really fun playing style in that they run up and down the floor and like to transition.

"I can be a scoring point guard, and they needed another guy to handle the ball. I think I can step in and play right away."