Taylor Itching to Be a Cyclone

Iowa State's backcourt will have a different look to it next season and one of the reasons will be the emergence of a JUCO guard that Greg McDermott signed last week by the name of Michael Taylor. CN caught up with Taylor's JUCO coach and talked about what Cyclone fans can expect to see out of the standout guard next season in Ames.

Taylor, a 6'2, 175 pound guard out of Chipola College in Florida committed to Iowa State last week and is more psyched up than ever about the sport of basketball.


"Ever since he committed to Iowa State he's been up at six in the morning. He got up on Saturday and Sunday and worked out for two hours. He really wants to come in there and help out Coach Mac and his staff," said Greg Heiar, Taylor's JUCO coach.


With the questions looming about the future of Iowa State's backcourt, McDermott will more than likely look to Taylor for an immediate impact next season. According to Heiar, Taylor is ready to take on the challenge.


"He wants to win ball games in the Big 12 and he understands how difficult that is. You couldn't find a kid who is willing to work harder and that has more energy and more passion for the game than Michael Taylor. He wants to be great, he wants to win and he'll do whatever it takes to win," said Heiar.


Chipola College is in Florida, but Taylor has one major connection to Iowa State. Iowa State's new assistant coach T.J. Otzelberger coached Taylor last season at Chipola where he served as an assistant coach and that played a major role in Taylor choosing Iowa State.


"He really knows Coach Otzelberger because he coached here last year. He coached Michael for a year and they're both from Milwaukee so they know the same people. That had a strong influence as well," said Heiar.


Otzelberger wasn't the only reason why Taylor chose ISU.


"The whole key for Michael choosing Iowa State was that their whole coaching staff is made up of really good people. That's important because good people are going to do good things and that was really important for Michael," said Heiar.


Iowa State's recruitment of Michael Taylor was a love at first sight sort of thing. It didn't take long for Greg McDermott to hit the recruiting trail in the case of Taylor as he contacted Chipola within a week of getting the job.


"They actually called me on a Sunday. It was the Sunday night after he got the job. Coach Rutter had been down to the state tournament when they were at UNI and he saw Michael. Michael played really well in that and when they were talking about what they needed and Michael was the number one guy. They went after him. We got him on a visit and then Coach Mac came down here and the rest is history," said Heiar.


Taylor had also received offers from Minnesota and Ole Miss while Iowa and Tennessee were showing early interest in the guard.


Heiar then went on to rave about how easy Taylor is to coach.


"He's a team player and I'm really excited for him. He's worked extremely hard on his game and he will continue to do so. All coaches love to have players who love to work on their game," said Heiar.


Another quality that Taylor will bring to Iowa State is versatility at the guard position.


"I compare him to a Bobby Jackson or a Jason Terry. He's versatile. He's obviously more or a scorer than he is a point guard but he can play point. He understands the game but his energy allows him to play hard for long periods of time," said Heiar.


Heair also talked about Taylor's athleticism.


"When he hits one jump shot, you might as well expect him to hit three or four in a row. He's a streaky high energy player. He can really get to the basket. He's athletic and he plays above the rim."


Iowa State fans can expect to see an improvement in the teams peremiter defense next year with the additions of Taylor and Dodie Dunson. Like Dunson, Taylor is known to be excellent on the defensive side of the ball.


"He really guards. He'll be one of those guys who the fans are going to love because he gives 110% every possession. Coaches talk about getting your team to play every possession, but he's one of those guys who just does it. He loves to play and he plays hard every possession. You're going to win games when you have guys who play like that," said Heiar.


Next year's team will have a new look to it, but one thing is for sure, whether it's McDermott, Otzelberger, Dunson or Taylor, they are all happier than ever to be Cyclones.


"He's really excited about becoming an Iowa State Cyclone and playing in Hilton Magic," said Taylor.






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