Spurlock joins Division II power in Colorado


Les Nicholson

Harlan County guard Taylor Spurlock, pictured in action last season against Corbin, will continue his basketball career at the Division II level in college at Colorado School of Mines.

John Henson, Managing Editor

Going from one of the top high school basketball teams in eastern Kentucky to one of the best Division II programs in the nation, Harlan County guard Taylor Spurlock is ready for a new challenge and will travel west soon to play for Colorado School of Mines.
Spurlock, a three-year starter, averaged a team-high 17.4 points per game and 6.0 rebounds for this year’s 24-11 Bears, who won the 52nd District Tournament title and defeated Corbin and Clay County in the 13th Region Tournament before falling to Knox Central in the regional finals. Spurlock joined the school’s 1,000-point club last season to secure his place among the all-time greats at HCHS.
“It’s exciting to see Taylor get the opportunity to continue his basketball career. He’s a top notch student athlete,” Harlan County coach Michael Jones said. “After speaking with their coach, it sounds like a perfect fit. The school is focused on science and engineering, which suits Taylor. We know he will represent Harlan County High School very well and look forward to seeing him succeed on and off the court.”
“I really like that it is a high academic school that can compete at a high level in basketball, as well,” Spurlock said. “I hope to go in, work hard and do whatever I can to contribute and make the team better. I expect to go out there and do all that anyone from Harlan can do, be the hardest worker there. I want to leave my mark there and show kids coming up in the future that you can chase your dreams and make your life what you want.”
Pryson Orser recently completed his 19th season as coach at Colorado School of Mines and has led the team to 10 NCAA Tournament berths, including seven straight. Last year’s squad finished 20-12 but didn’t get to play in the national tournament as the coronavirus outbreak led to it being canceled. The school is a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
“Taylor Spurlock is a unique player and one who will fit in well in our scheme. He is a super skilled combo guard at 6-7 and who also can play the lead guard. He has been a guard all his life and just happened to have a major growth spurt and may still have some growth left,” Orser said. “Taylor is a very good passer, has very good ball skills and also can score the ball. His height gives him a major advantage seeing the floor, as well as shooting over and posting smaller guards. All in all, his is upside is off the charts. As he gets stronger, and improves his man to man defense, he is a player that can maintain and probably elevate our level of play here at Mines. We are thrilled to add such an outstanding person, student and a flat out Kentucky baller to our program.”
Spurlock and North Hardin’s Addison Sutton were named the 2019-20 Midway University/KHSAA Male and Female Basketball Student-Athletes of the Year during the season.
According to a press release from the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, the awards were based on excellence in community service (20 percent), academics (20 percent) and athletic performance (60 percent). Students must possess an overall grade point average of 3.0 or better to qualify, and must be academically eligible during the season in which they are nominated. School administrators, coaches, and athletic directors nominate student-athletes online at KHSAA.org, with the award recipients chosen by a panel of representatives from Midway University.
Spurlock’s 4.0 grade point average and a 31 on the ACT more than met the academic qualifications. He also won a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky by winning a MATHCOUNTS competition as an eighth-grader. His public service included his participation in the Empty Stocking Fund drive with the Harlan County High School National Honor Society.
“He’s meant a great deal to our program over the past four years,” Jones said. “He will be missed. It’s been a pleasure to coach him.”