BUTTE — There’s been a lot that has gone right so far this season for Adam Hiatt and the Montana Tech men’s basketball team. The Orediggers currently sit tied for third in the Frontier Conference with a 6-4 league record.
One factor behind one of the best starts in program history is junior center Taylor England.
“I notice that when I’m on the court teams can’t focus on one player. ... Me, Troy (Owens Jr.) and Sindou (Diallo) and even Derrius (Collins) who can shoot it, Dylan (Pannabecker) or (Connor) Kieckbusch can shoot it, so teams can’t primarily focus on double-teaming me," England said.
“I didn’t think our defense was up to snuff the first semester. We’re playing a lot better defensively and (England) is the anchor of our defense," said Hiatt. "And he raises the tide for all boats in that regard, so everyone else feels confident now that they will be able to have that anchor on the defense set.”
With multiple Frontier player of the week honors under his belt and an almost sure-fire first-team all-conference selection awaiting him at the end of the season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in England's accomplishments on the court. However, through the Tech Way program he’s become a role model for the next generation of Orediggers.
“I’ve loved going to the Tech Way and helping those kids out and seeing them come out to the games and being happy, and them knowing me," England said.
“We do a lot of community service events as a basketball program, and he’s front and center with all of them. He loves the kids, he loves the interaction," Hiatt added. "And he's as selfless as they come and it’s a big reason why he's been such a successful student-athlete at Montana Tech.”