DREW RUBENSTEIN is a sports reporter for The Dominion Post. Write to him at drubenstein@dominionpost.com.

Dunn not done for Mohigans

TO THIS DAY, nobody knows for sure at what point it happened. But, during the Hoop Group Jam Fest in Morgantown this past summer, Morgantown High’s Taylor Dunn tore his ACL, likely ending his senior season before it even began. The Mohigans host Preston tonight in their season opener. Was Dunn disappointed and upset? You bet. Is he sulking in self pity? Not a chance. Which, given the other circumstances, says a lot. Just weeks before the injury, Dunn decided to return to MHS for his final season although his father, Jerry Dunn —- a former WVU assistant basketball coach on the men’s team —- followed John Beilein to Ann Arbor, Mich., to coach the Wolverines.
“Kids never think they’re going to get hurt, and in reality, some will,” MHS basketball head coach Tom Yester said. “He was disappointed, but he’s accepted it. He has seen it happen before with his dad.
“I’ve got all the confidence in the world his basketball career is not through and that he will go on to be successful in life. His family instilled hard work and sticking to things, and that’s probably why he’s handled this so well and why he has been successful and will continue to be.”
And make no mistake about it. While the injury has shortened his high school playing days, Dunn hasn’t even slowed down. With a brace wrapped around his knee, Dunn has been at every MHS practice, rehabbing with runs and shooting the ball on the side.
“He looks pretty good, really, almost like he could play” MHS assistant coach Jeff Hoffman said. “But you know better.
“Back when I had my knee injury, your career was over [after an ACL tear],” Hoffman said with a laugh. “These guys now rehab and come back stronger and stronger.”
With the extra time off the court, Dunn has already produced his highlight tape to send out to prep schools and colleges.
“He is pretty well known from playing AAU ball,” Hoffman said. “He will have some looks.”
In the meantime, Dunn claims he will continue to be the emotional leader of the Mohigans, the one knowing the right words to say at the right time, or the voice demanding for his teammates to improve their play.
“He just told our guys, ‘play every game like its your last. Look at me, it might be,’” Yester said.
And for that reason, Yester anticipates to see the Mohigans rally around Dunn, whether or not he’s able to return to the court toward the end of the season.
“I think this team will try to do some things for him,” Yester said.
However, the former starter, who helped lead the Mohigans to the semifinals of the state tournament last season, will certainly be missed on the court tonight.
At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, Dunn led the Mohigans with 10 points and five rebounds in their seasonopening two-point loss to the Knights last season.
But in a lot of other ways, Dunn will still be in control of how the Mohigans respond to certain situations out on the court.
“He’ll be sitting over on the bench assisting coaching,” Yester said with a laugh.
“He’s always been the emotional leader. He can still do that even though he’s not on floor,” Hoffman added. “Actually, he’s already said he’s prepared to do that. They will continue to follow him.”