CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Capital High basketball coach Matt Greene says there’s not many days that go by that he doesn’t notice KJ Taylor in a team picture that’s right beside his team’s locker room at Capital High.
“His smile is infectious,” Greene said.
Greene and others are mourning because they’ll no longer be able to see that smile in person after Taylor was shot and killed on Charleston’s West Side Wednesday night.
Taylor, 18, a senior at Capital, didn’t play basketball this year. He had transferred to Arizona to play football because of the COVID-19 situation in West Virginia. He returned after the first semester and met with Greene about going out for the team but the transfer paperwork couldn’t be finalized in time.
Taylor was a point guard with a big smile.
“It has a little mischievous grin to it. That’s what it was like,” Greene told MetroNews Thursday. “KJ was a lot of fun.”
Taylor had a lot of friends, Greene said.
“Everybody had some kind of relationship with KJ that’s on our team currently, every class, they ran with the same group,” Greene said.
There have been no arrests in the shooting death. Greene said a few of his players were with Taylor earlier in the evening in the 2nd Avenue area of the West Side. He said another former teammate was with him on Central Avenue just a few minutes before the shooting.
Charleston Police Chief Tyke Hunt has said Taylor has never been in trouble with the police and Greene agrees.
“He didn’t do anything than any normal teenager would be doing,” Greene said. “He had no problems with anything police-related or probation or anything like that.”
Greene’s heard the talk on the street.
“It seems like it was definitely not intended for him from everything I’ve heard,” Greene said.
Greene met with his team Thursday morning and the players decided to play their game Thursday night against South Charleston. Greene said the top priority now to is support the players in how they grieve their friend’s death.
“We’ll get everybody to grieve in their own way, how they need to, and support each other the best way we can and stay together as a group,” he said.
Greene said he’s been personally overwhelmed with how members of the coaching fraternity at all levels across the state have reached out to him and his assistant coaches offering support.
“I can’t explain how sad and how tragic it is. It’s been very difficult,” he said.