2008's Taylor Makes Splash

Jeff Taylor, a Swedish import, is starting to gain quite a bit of buzz around the water cooler. The Hobbs small forward has a lot going for him!

Hobbs (N.M.) High might not strike you as a hotbed for basketball talent but back in 1982 it produced the No. 42 selection in the NBA Draft. A wing out of Texas Tech named Jeffrey Taylor was taken by the Houston Rockets.

It's been over 25 years since a Taylor wore the Hobbs High jersey but apparently there's a player in the making at the school … again. Jeff Taylor, the 6-foot-6 son of the former draft pick, is a junior at the school and he's only recently begun to dot the collegiate radar.

Allow us to paint the picture. Taylor was born in Sweden and he's been in the country his entire life until last summer. His father played professional basketball a good portion of his formative years in the country. As late as August, Taylor was in Europe helping Sweden to a surprise 5th place finish at the under-18 European Championships.

During the run, Taylor averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds for his country. The overseas event was laced with good players. Romania, which won the event, featured George Mason signee Vlad Moldoveanu and junior center Catalin Baciu. The later has a bevy of high-major offers already and is sure to become an even hotter commodity as the season rolls on.

"He's knew to everything. He's already gotten so much better from the first game until now. That's the thing that intrigues those that come in and look at him." -- coach Russ Gilmore
Taylor, according to Hobbs coach Russ Gilmore, has the full attention of a number of programs. New Mexico's Ritchie McKay has laid eyes on him. Utah, Kansas, Texas A&M, Nebraska, Texas Tech and Arizona sent assistants. Bob Knight will be in town next week eyeballing Taylor.

"The ones who first found out about him were Florida and Utah," Gilmore said. "I guess they have the European people who told them about him. He played real well in the Albert Schweitzer Games."

And he's playing well for Hobbs. In his last two outings, the small forward scored 34 and 32 points. He's averaging in the neighborhood of 27 a game and his coach estimates 18-20 boards as well. Those, by the way, are significant numbers any way you slice them.

Combine his high school production with his standout play overseas and we could be talking about one of the legitimate risers in the Class of 2008.

"The biggest thing about him is his upside is really big," Gilmore said. "He's real quick and he can put it on the floor and get to the hole. On defense he alters shots all the time and he can get out and run. He can put it down on the floor. The biggest thing is he's going to have to work on his outside shot but for us he can just go to the hole."

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