Robert Smith has a state championship under his belt, and he has possibly the best coached team in the Chicago area returning this winter hoping for a repeat. When he recommends a player to Illinois, UI coaches listen.
Smith believes 6'-7" forward Steve Taylor needs a look from high major programs like the Illini. Taylor combines good moves near the basket with a deadly three point shot. When his Mac Irvin Fire 16 and Under team ran out of guards this July, Taylor even brought the ball up the court.
He has the skills to be recruited by many top schools, but he isn't worried about the lack of attention so far.
"I'm okay. I know they're gonna come. I pay no attention to it."
What schools have talked to him?
"Ohio, Detroit, Xavier, DePaul and Illinois."
Part of the reason Taylor hasn't gotten much attention is the way Smith uses his players. An athlete must be willing to share the rock and play a team game rather than an individual game. Taylor prefers that style.
"Yeah, that's why we win. We don't care, we like to win. Everybody gets on the same page, and we win. We have 12 or 13 guys who contribute."
Another reason is that he wasn't with Simeon during its championship run.
"I didn't get to play. I was about to transfer, but I didn't. I'll be back this year and the year after that."
Simeon loses only Brandon Spearman and Rob Robertson from its championship team, and there is more talent moving up. With 6'-7" Jabari Parker joining Taylor among the starters, Simeon has plenty of firepower.
"Jabari is good, very good. He helps us a lot with his versatility and skills."
Parker is one of the best 10-15 prospects in the nation for the 2013 graduation class. Parker has more notoriety than Taylor, but the two are both highly versatile. Taylor has definite choices on the basketball floor.
"When I've got a small defender I post up. And then if I have a big center I can take him out to the top."
Does he have a weakness?
"I've got to work on my left hand a little bit."