AGANA HEIGHTS, Guam – Paul Floyd was expected to be a Yokota Panther all four of his high school years. Coach Joe Taitano is ever grateful that Floyd moved to Guam High 1½ years ago, and his stats from the Panthers’ first two games demonstrate proof of it.
Floyd, a senior, averaged 23.5 points and 13.5 rebounds as the Panthers, third in last year’s league playoffs, broke out of the gate with two victories in their first two Independent Interscholastic Athletic Association of Guam games.
“He’s 10 times better than he was last year,” Taitano said of Floyd. “He seems to be in the groove this year. He does a lot for us on both ends of the floor. I’m happy for him that he moved to our school.”
Behind Floyd’s 25 points and 14 rebounds, Guam High on Friday soundly thrashed Southern, the team the Panthers beat for third place in the IIAAG playoffs last March, 82-46. On Saturday, Guam High had a much tougher go, but Floyd had 22 points and 13 boards as the Panthers won, 51-48, at George Washington.
Taitano credits the work that Floyd’s former Yokota coach, Paul Ettl, did with him prior to his transfer to Guam. “They did a good job with him,” Taitano said. “It translated over and it made my job a lot easier. He’s a big help for the team right now.”
Floyd is the lone returner from a Panthers team that finished second in the IIAAG playoffs in 2009, in addition to the bronze last year. “It’s going to be a tough year for us, but we’re doing the best that we can,” Taitano said.
Right now, Taitano is starting three freshmen and one sophomore, until senior Jordan Gaddy, a transfer from Hohenfels, Germany, can break the lineup. He’s been out sick most of last week.
“He’s very promising,” Taitano said of Gaddy, who was All-Europe last season, can handle the ball at guard and can double as a shooting guard or small forward. “As soon as he’s ready, he’ll be able to contribute to the team. We can be flexible with him.”
In addition to redeeming their near-misses in IIAAG competition, Taitano is hopeful of improving on seventh- and sixth-place finishes in Far East Division I Tournament play. This season, Guam High hosts the D-I for boys and girls for the first time.
“I’m glad we were able to get it done the first two games and look forward to the rest of our games and Far East,” he said.
Of the IIAAG playoffs, he said; “Our goal is to be in the championship game. We’ve set a standard. We would hope that with a lot of work … I think we’re going to find ourselves in the finals this year.”