Ex-Mohigan enjoying his NCAA run
Dunn, La Salle reach Sweet 16
The Dominion Post
Taylor Dunn was still in middle school when he had his first brush with NCAA tournament success.
His father, Jerry, was an assistant coach under former WVU men’s basketball coach John Beilein when the Mountaineers made a run to the 2005 Elite Eight.
“I remember that team with Kevin Pittsnogle and Mike G a n s e y, ” Dunn said. “That was a fun team to be around when they were making their run through the NCAA tournament. I remember dreaming about playing with a team like that one day.”
Some eight years later, following his high school career at Morgantown High, Dunn finds himself as a reserve guard on a La Salle team that is one of the darlings of the 2013 NCAA tournament.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Dunn said by phone as the team prepared to travel from Kansas City to Los Angeles for the tournament’s next round. “The guys have always believed and we’ve put in all the hard work. We came into the tournament feeling we had a chance to make some noise and we’re looking forward to the opportunity to make some more.”
The 13th-seeded Explorers (24-9), located in Phladelphia, advanced to the Sweet 16 only after beating Boise State in a play-in game and then winning two last-second games against No. 4 seed Kansas State and No. 12 seed Mississippi.
It is the deepest a La Salle team has advanced through the NCAA tournament since the Explorers played in the 1955 national championship game.
La Salle defended two last-chance attempts by Kansas State to hold on for a 63-61 win, while Tyrone Garland hit a scooping lay-up with two seconds left to give La Salle a 76-74 victory against Ole Miss.
“Having to defend a team in the final seconds was definitely tougher to handle,” said Dunn, who is averaging 1.1 points per game for La Salle and saw four minutes of action against Mississippi. “Having the ball in the final seconds, like we did against Ole Miss, I think that’s what any team would rather have. There is more pressure on the defense than there is the offense in those situations.”
In both cases, Dunn found his way out on the Sprint Center floor to celebrate.
“He was texting me about how he would find a way to get on the screen and there he was,” MHS coach Tom Yester said. “That’s Taylor. He never shied away from the spotlight.
“He is a great kid and a great teammate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him coaching one day.”
Dunn, who is a junior majoring in biology, said coaching could be in the works one day.
“Right now, I try to find ways to keep everyone focused,” he said. “I’ve thought about coaching. I try to continue to be a leader whenever I can. I try to keep all the guys positive and try to do positive things on and off the floor.”
For now, he is focused only on the Sweet 16 matchup against No. 9 seed Wichita State, at 10:17 p.m. Thursday.
It will be a Sweet 16 that features several lower seeds. Oregon, a No. 12 seed, is still alive, as is 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast, the first No. 15 seed to advance to the round of 16.
“We hope all of the attentions stays on Florida Gulf Coast,” Dunn said. “That’s OK, we don’t want all of the extra attention. We just want to keep playing hard and stay focused on the next opponent.”

Taylor Dunn