A very talented young, up-and-coming sports writer, Sean Saint Jacques, did a wonderful series, that tells our story. To start off our blog, we couldn’t think of a better way to introduce ourselves:
Sean Saint Jacques tells the extraordinary story of former Seton Hall basketball star Oliver Taylor and the mentor that changed his life forever. This is the first part of a three part series.
Part I: Meeting a Mentor and the journey to Seton Hall
Oliver Taylor was considered one of the best young basketball players in the five boroughs during his high school days. The sky was the limit and all he had to do was choose the right college to play basketball, but an obstacle would arise. Taylor did not have the grades.
At Far Rockaway High School, Taylor was a star and averaged 35 points per game. He did not need too much help on the court to show everyone how good he was, but in the classroom it was different. Taylor struggled to get good grades and meet the standards on SATscores, which meant schools like local St. John’s would not accept Taylor into their program due to his low test scores. With his dream of playing Division I basketball was in jeopardy, Taylor kept working hard.
Taylor was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs in order to take care of the family, but was still able to chase his dream with his entire family behind him.
“I did have my stepfather and he worked a lot,” Taylor said. My mom was the glue. It was not about rich and poor. With my two brothers and three sisters, I just enjoyed living as a kid. My mom worked around the clock and we focused on education.”
With struggles in the classroom and a tough decision on what to do next looming for the high school star, the papers took notice. An article was written about Taylor’s high school career in the New York Times during the 1987 season. Taylor’s story was published and an accomplished business man and lifetime lover of basketball happened to pick it up.
In some ways, David Gurwitz came from a much different background than Taylor. Gurwitz was raised in a religious family of rabbis and had already been successful in many of his endeavors. However, Gurwitz knew what it was like growing up without money and, more importantly, knew how vital it was to help others. So with Gurwitz holding the Taylor article in one hand and clutching his recently born son in the other, he knew what he had to do.
For the full interview: http://davidgurwitz.com/teaching-taylor-part-i-mentorship-coming-full-circle/