By Kristen Sharkey
Since 2009, the Spartans of Williamsville North have had the same starting point guard leading them into battle. Head coach Chuck Swierski and senior point guard Sterling Taplin are going into their fifth season together with high hopes and high energy. In his 11 years at North, Swierski has never had a team as talented as this one and a lot of that has to do with his exceptional point guard.
If Williamsville North is ever down by three with two seconds left we can all expect the ball to be in the hands of Sterling Taplin. As the current all-time leading scorer at North, Taplin will be a force to be reckoned with as he adds to his 1,425 career points.
Being a leader on the court has always been a part of Taplin’s game.
“As an eighth grader, Sterling lead on the floor early for us. We put him in a tough spot and he has handled it extremely well,” said Swierski. From that point on Sterling has grown into his position and is developing to be one of the best players to come out of Western New York.
Taplin enters the season 41 assists shy of making more history by becoming the all-time assist leader at Williamsville North. It is extremely rare for a player to be the all-time leader in points and assists, so it is no surprise that several Division I programs are knocking at his door.
As a sophomore and junior, Taplin was named first-team All-Western New York. The last player to do that was Will Regan (2010, Nichols) who is currently starting for the University at Buffalo. It will only be a matter of time before we hear about Sterling Taplin on the collegiate level. Coming into the season he has multiple college offers. Siena, Hampton, UB, Canisius and others are interested in his ability to shoot, distribute and lead on the court.
The recruiting process for a teenager can be a grueling one. “I want to play through my senior year, and see what happens, then go from there,” Taplin said. There is no rush for this senior who averaged 21.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists last season.
Sterling plays for the Albany City Rocks during the offseason and has been working hard and improving his skill set all summer long. Swierski said that Taplin’s hard work during this time is one of the main reasons why Taplin is where he is today.
“This season we are going to come in with a good attitude, work hard, and make it to Buff State or farther,” said Taplin, whose ability to take the defender off the dribble, pull up for a three, or dish a perfect pass to an open teammate will be a major part of Williamsville North trying to make a run in the playoffs.