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Heart of a Tiger: Hughes plays bigger than size should allow

Taylor Hughes enjoys the violence of football.

As the Chilton County quarterback, though, usually the idea was to avoid contact.

Surprisingly, Hughes got his fix on the basketball court, where he was his team’s top rebounder and post defender despite his guard’s 6’1” frame.

“I liked playing defense on the big guys from Carver [Montgomery] and Selma,” Hughes said. “Just pushing people around.”

Hughes is The Clanton Advertiser’s Boys Basketball Player of the Year after leading the Tigers in scoring (14 points per game), rebounding (eight per game), assists (four) and steals (two).

Coach Donnie Hand said Hughes is the first player Hand has had lead the team in those four categories since Maurice Simon in 2000.

“The area we needed him most was rebounding,” Hand said, and Hughes was often at his best when the games turned physical.

With a lack of depth this season, Hand relied on Hughes to keep opponents off the boards.

“There were plenty of games this year where, when it was all said and done, we looked and Taylor had never came out,” Hand said.

That was fine with Hughes—more opportunities to mix it up underneath.

Hughes’ season was a bit of a surprise. Hand said he knew about Hughes’ abilities, but Hughes had never had to prove it in a game.

With heavy losses to graduation after last season, though, Hughes was pressed into action.

“We knew what kind of player he was; we just didn’t know exactly what kind of year he would have because he’s never played that much.”