Nate Taphorn first burst on the scene last May in Fort Wayne. Playing with the Illinois Wolves 16U team, he became red hot from long range against a strong Eric Gordon All-Stars team featuring several future Hoosiers. College coaches began flocking to his games to learn more about him.
"That's probably one of the better games I'll have. I wasn't shooting it real well in the first half, but I made up for it in the second half. Once I started making them, I felt like I could keep doing it."
Despite a slender physique, Taphorn also demonstrated a willingness to bang inside with stronger players. He is not afraid to take a charge or wrestle for rebounds.
"I try to be competitive. Sometimes I think I'm less aggressive than I am or more aggressive than I am."
He battles, but sometimes he loses his position due to a lack of muscle mass on his 6'-6" body. He is aware of his shortcoming.
"I think strong defense gets to me at times. I think getting quicker and gaining strength are my biggest needs. Putting on muscle and pounds is probably my biggest focus. It's probably one of my biggest focuses for the next several years."
Illinois is definitely interested, hosting Taphorn for the Chicago State game. He hasn't received an offer yet, but he is aware of the advantages of playing close to home.
He lists the schools that have offered him scholarships.
"I've been offered by Creighton, Bradley, SIU, Drake, University of Wisconsin Green Bay, North Dakota and Colorado State.",P>Right now, he is treating everyone equally, both those who have offered and those showing interest.
"All the people that have offered me, and in addition Illinois, Wisconsin, DePaul, and Washington State. A lot of schools, a lot of variety."
What is he looking for in a college?
"I'm definitely looking for a better education and a good solid basketball program. A good education will set me up for life."
Taphorn feels Pekin will have a potent team this season.
"It's going pretty well. We beat Harvey Thornton and Bolingbrook. It's been a nice year so far. We have a lot of people returning. We're experienced, and we're all really good guys. I think we'll have a good year."