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Getting to Know ... Trisha Taylor

Trisha Taylor, 26, is an assistant girls basketball coach at Mill Creek. The 1999 Collins Hill grad is in her fourth year as the Hawks' head junior varsity coach and also teaches special education with a focus in math. In this latest installment of "Getting to Know...," the Georgia College and State University graduate talks with sports editor Will Hammock on a variety of topics, ranging from her shooting ability to Chick-fil-A to her teacup poodle.

WH: Back in your heyday, you could have given (Collins Hill grad and UConn star freshman) Maya Moore a pretty good game of one-on-one, right?

TT: Oh gosh. If I just stayed outside and shot the 3-pointer maybe. But she'd probably pack all my shots. She's an amazing player. I've never seen anything like her.

WH: What was it like to watch Maya play?

TT: It's hard to put it into words. I think she's a great player. You can see it in the way she carries herself that she's very humble. I have great admiration and respect for her. I think she could beat a lot of guys.

WH: When you played at Collins Hill, did you ever envision what kind of powerhouse your alma mater would become in girls basketball?

TT: I would have loved to been a part of it. I never would have envisioned it. I played for three years under Kerensa Wing and we were brand new then. Everything was brand new. I finally started to lose the love of it after my junior year. But (current Mill Creek coach) Ashley (Phillips) and (current Norcross coach) Angie Hembree came in and turned things around. I can't speak highly enough of those two. My claim to fame is I got to help build the foundation of that program.

WH: How would you describe your game? You were a gunner from what I remember.

TT: I definitely was a gunner, definitely not big on D. I could shoot the 3-pointer. I wish I knew then what I know now. I was a shooter. Now I know how to play defense.

WH: Do you ever brag that you're the first Collins Hill player to score 1,000 points?

TT: I do try to still tell the Collins Hill people that I've got records there. That sounds good.

WH: Who was the best Gwinnett player you ever played against?

TT: I'd say (Norcross') Alex Stewart or (Buford's) Christi Thomas. I played AAU with them. They were the big-timers. They were great. They had different styles of play. To me then, those were like the Maya Moores.

WH: Did you think Christi was going to make it to the WNBA?

TT: I did. I thought it was neat to play with somebody who went to the WNBA. I definitely knew she could.

WH: Do you still play much?

TT: I do, me and one of our other coaches, Coach (Jennifer) Crowe. we joined a Hebron league basketball team. We won the league championship. I'm still able to light it up and I can play defense now.

WH: What kind of jobs did you have growing up?

TT: I was the beverage cart girl at Hamilton Mill Golf Club. I'm very proud of that. And I was assistant to the general manager at Hamilton Mill. Also I was a manager-type person at Chick-fil-A (for four years).

WH: Speaking of Chick-fil-A, why are the people who work there so nice?

TT: They are. They're all nice. Whenever someone says thank you, you're supposed to say my pleasure.

WH: As a diner, what is more annoying at Chick-fil-A - too much ice in the drinks or those fried pieces of grizzle, fat or whatever those chewy things you get in your sandwiches sometimes are?

TT: Definitely too much ice in the drinks. That was the No. 1 problem. People complained about that when I worked there. But I'm a very picky eater, so my problem usually was when I ordered my grilled chicken sandwich with nothing on it, I usually end up with something on it like pickles or lettuce.

WH: If you're picky, what's your least favorite food?

TT: I have a lot of those. You could probably do a whole story on my eating habits. I would say broccoli. I'm not a big vegetable person. Steak and macaroni and cheese makes me happy.

WH: When did you know you wanted to get into your current job of teaching and coaching?

TT: It was probably my fifth year of college because I worked with Young Life at a high school in Milledgevile and volunteered as an assistant coach at Georgia Military College's high school. It's definitely a different level of basketball. But I got involved with teaching and coaching and realized I wanted to get into the coaching and teaching business.

WH: Was it weird sitting on the opposite bench, coaching against Collins Hill?

TT: It was weird. Oh yeah. I still walk into that gym and I'm a nervous wreck. I shouldn't say that since we play them (tonight.). They're my biggest rivalry.

WH: It seems like Mill Creek has been building its way into a basketball power. How good can this year's team and program be?

TT: I think, I've told my friends and family, if we play to our potential and everybody stays healthy, we should be one of the top teams in the state. I'd love to say we'd be No. 1. This should be our year. That's what we told the girls. They've just got to deliver.

WH: Do you ever play any one-on-one games with (Mill Creek guard) Porsha Porter?

TT: Oh gosh. I don't know if I've gone one-on-one with her. In student-faculty games we've played and I may have crossed her up a time or two, but she's definitely faster than me. I wouldn't want to play her in a fullcourt game. I'd take her in a shooting match any day though. Although she has been shooting great.

WH: I saw the photo on the Mill Creek Web site of you with your teacup poodle, Millie? Do you ever carry her around in your purse?

TT: I definitely don't. The only time she has clothes on is because my parents bought her clothes.

"We like to say she's our little mascot. She's my little friend. She keeps me company.

WH: Is she pretty obedient or is she a mess?

TT: She's very obedient. She's very much like me, very laid back and quiet. She likes to just snuggle. That makes me sound like a dork, but she's just a big snuggler.

WH: What's the best thing about having such a tiny dog?

TT: She doesn't shed and she can sleep right next to me. Everybody asks me if I'm afraid I'm going to crush her. But she stays in her spot and I stay in my spot.

WH: How long do you see yourself as a teacher and coach? Do you think you'll do this until you retire?

TT: I don't know how long I'll stay in coaching. If I ever get married, I definitely would just want to teach. Teaching is actually my first love. Coaching's just another good benefit, an opportunity to be with kids.

"I'll teach as long as I need to. I see myself definitely coaching a few more years. I'd like to get a state championship ring.