Shep Garner and Brandon Taylor: The Backbone of Penn State Basketball

Story posted February 6, 2016 in Sports, CommRadio by Tommy Butler

Brandon Taylor and Shep Garner have both been two of the most valuable players on the Penn State men’s basketball team this year. Both have been good players on the court and good people off making it hard for anyone to root against them.

Taylor, a 6’6” senior forward, has been a great player since he first stepped onto the court for Penn State as a freshman in 2012. Now that he is one of the elders on the team he works to help improve the newer teammates.

Brandon Taylor has been the top contributor of points, shots and rebounds so far this season, proving himself to be the at the top of the Most Valuable Players list for the team this year. He has scored 359 points this season and averaged 16.3 points per game. He has been consistent in shooting from anywhere on the court with a 44 percent field goal percentage, a 33 percent three pointer percentage, and a 73 percent free throw percentage (he has the team high for shots in every category but three pointers). He also leads the team in rebounds on both offense and defense with 33 and 98 respectively.

Garner, a 6’1” sophomore guard, has been almost equally as impressive as his older teammate. He has started all but one game in his two year career so far at Penn State (he started on the bench for senior night last year). He has shown himself to be the up and coming main event for Penn State Basketball. So far this year, Garner has come in a close second to Taylor in all but four categories, which he leads instead. The stats he leads for the team include three point shots (133), three point percentage (36%), and free throw percentage (78%), and assists (68).

Brandon and Shep have carried the team so far this season. It has been more common than not that at the end of the game, one of the two will lead scoring in the game.

During the interview a few days ago Brandon was asked how he felt about how he responds to deficits, which the team has seen many times so far this season.

He replied: “(You need to) keep throwing those punches when they punch you. I think that’s something that we are doing a better job at, throwing those punches back and not just getting knocked down and not getting back up.”

He plays with such a strong will to compete no matter the odds that coaches love to see. He never gives up on a game and encourages his teammates to do the same.

During the same interview Shep was asked about his opinions of his coach Pat Chambers. He responded, very positively about his coach, saying “He’s been great, I mean, you know he brings the energy and toughness at practice that we need to be ready for Big Ten games.”

Garner was also asked about how over the last two games he has regained his great form after his injury. He confidently, but humbly replied “It felt good. I knew I would come around, you go in the gym and put the work in. I never got down on myself, I just got back in the gym and worked.”

One of the most important questions in the interview was asked to Brandon Taylor. He was asked how he and Garner, as well as the other members of the team, decide who gets the ball when it’s really important.

Brandon talks about how the person who gets the ball in their hands has a lot of pressure on them and it doesn’t work if it’s all on one person. He says  “We just play off each other, we use each other, and we get each other going, that’s the beauty of it.”

Taylor, Garner, and the rest of the Penn State men’s basketball team plays their next game today at 7 p.m. at Iowa. After that they play Indiana at home on Saturday.

Tommy Butler is a freshman majoring in communications. To contact him, email