Hazel Taylor, one of the most talented players in the history of the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens, was named today to the 2023 NAIA Hall of Fame for women’s basketball, as announced by the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

The NAIA Hall of Fame was founded in 1952. The NAIA Hall of Fame Award has been the highest honor presented by the Association. Honorees have demonstrated high moral character, fine leadership ability and must be held in high esteem by their colleagues, coaches, and athletes.

The induction ceremony will take place at halftime of the 2024 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship game, March 26, in Sioux City, IA. The game is scheduled to tip at 7:00 pm.

This honor is Taylor’s second notable recognition, following her 2014 induction into the Wayland Baptist Athletics Hall of Honor.

Hazel Laura Taylor grew up on the Caribbean island country of Trinidad & Tobago where her first love wasn’t basketball, but netball. Netball is similar to basketball, with the main differences being in netball there is no backboard and no dribbling.

In 1994 Johnna Pointer, then the head coach at Frank Phillips College, saw Taylor play in a Caribbean netball tournament and successfully recruited her to play at Frank Phillips, located in Texas.

“Hazel stood out as an extremely talented athlete,” said Pointer. “I just felt like her skill and ability would translate well to the basketball court.”

Taylor admitted that when she arrived in Texas from Trinidad her basketball skills were very raw, and she had to learn the fundamentals of the game.

Pointer and Taylor spent countless hours in the gym at Frank Phillips where Taylor learned the game from the ground up.

“Back in Trinidad we didn’t know (fundamentals), we just played,” she said. “When I came here, I learned a lot.”

When Wayland named Pointer head coach of the Flying Queens in 1996, near the top of the coach’s list of things to do was to get Taylor to Plainview. She succeeded, and so did the Flying Queens.

During her three years at Wayland, Flying Queens teams posted 79 victories and won better than 75 percent of their contests. They advanced to the NAIA National Tournament three times, and twice made it to the Elite Eight.

A cat-quick 5-foot-10 forward who could be just as effective shooting from the perimeter as she was posting up under the basket, Taylor was co-MVP of the Sooner Athletic Conference as a sophomore and earned Kodak and NAIA All-American honors all three seasons as a Flying Queen. The highlight was being selected as Wayland’s first and only NAIA Player of the Year following her senior season when she averaged 25.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 5.5 steals and 1.1 blocks.

Additionally, she was named as the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (NAIA division) and Rawlings Player of the Year, the only Flying Queen to ever receive those honors.

As for Taylor, she came within a mere 16 points of being crowned the all-time leading scorer in the storied history of the Flying Queens. Her 24.5 points-per-game career scoring average remains a program record, as do three records for steals.

“What was so special about Hazel was that she made everyone around her better,” Pointer said, “but she also could put the team on her shoulders if that’s what was needed to win a game.”

Following her playing career, Taylor served as Pointer’s student-assistant coach for three seasons and finished her degree in occupational education.

In 2005 she played professionally for the Lubbock Hawks during their inaugural season in the National Women’s Basketball League. That team was coached by former Flying Queens coach Sheryl Estes.

Taylor later worked in the home health field for a couple of years and cared for Pointer’s ailing grandparents from 2008-12. Taylor also helped her former coach during the summers with her basketball programs in Amarillo, which Pointer started after leaving Wayland.

The two remain close, just like family, Pointer says. They’ve watched each other’s children grow up and share holidays.

Today Taylor lives and works in Lubbock, and enjoys being near her daughter Geronne Black, a coach at Lubbock Estacado.

Black was an outstanding sprinter at Portland State and has been inducted into two halls of fame – one at Portland State in 2018 and the Big Sky Conference Hall of Fame this year.

Pointer adds Taylor still follows the Flying Queens. It’s not surprising to find her in the stands watching her college team play.

With Taylor’s selection to the NAIA Hall of Fame, the netball star turned basketball All-American now joins her daughter in the prestigious ranks of dual hall of famers.


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    Paula Baisch Westfall on September 21, 2023

    That is awesome. I am glad you joined our team. THE FLYING Qweens!!. From another flying Queen.

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