His name is Tyshawn Taylor, a future star guard who is already wowing Jayhawk fans and the nation with his talent and athletic ability.
Taylor, who is KU’s third-leading scorer at 9.8 points per
game, almost never made it to Kansas. He had already signed a letter of
intent to attend Marquette when head coach Tom Crean bolted to take the
The New Jersey native was let out of his scholarship and committed to
KU in late April.
"I feel like this is one of the top three or four colleges for
basketball in history,” Taylor said. “The inventor
of the game was the first coach here. Great coaches and
players came after him. There are a bunch of guys in the NBA.This is a
great atmosphere with great history."
Taylor is now part of the rich history. He first gave KU fans of
glimpse of his supreme talents during KU’s three exhibition
games in Ottawa, Ontario on Aug. 30-31. Taylor led KU in scoring
against McGill (18) and Ottawa (21), and finished the trip averaging
13.7 points while shooting a blistering 59.3 percent from the field.
KU coach Bill Self raved about Taylor afterwards.
“I’ve coached one guy that may be
faster,” Self told the Jayhawk Radio Network. “Dee Brown (former Illinois star) end to end may be faster. Tyshawn is a
jet. He’s a great looking prospect, probably as good a guard
prospect as we’ve (brought) in here. Prospect, not saying
player. But I do think he’s going to get there as a player.
He’s been very well coached in high
Self was grateful that KU was able to land Taylor after he originally
signed with Marquette.
“We lucked out on Ty,” Self said. “If
there wouldn’t have been that coaching change, he’d
be at Marquette right now. We slow played him in the fall, saying we
wanted the last visit. We were actually waiting to see what BoBo
(J’Mison Morgan of South Oak Cliff High School in Dallas,
Texas) would do with our scholarship limitations. Of course, BoBo ended
up signing with LSU and has since gone to UCLA.”
“He’s one of the best guard prospects that
I’ve ever had,” Self added. “I just see
him continue to get better and better as he gets stronger. ...
I’m not saying he’s (Kirk) Hinrich, I’m
not saying he’s (Mario) Chalmers yet. But he has a chance to
be very elite.”
After four games this season, Taylor continues to shine. He received
his first start against Florida Gulf Coast in game two on Nov. 18 and
will likely keep his starting spot the remainder of his college career.
Taylor has been scorching the nets thus far on 61.5 percent shooting,
while also averaging 2.0 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 24.5
minutes per game.
The 6-3 guard flew under the radar in high school averaging just 10
points per game his senior year for his national champion St. Anthony
team in Jersey City. But after his performance in the
O’Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City, Taylor has
finally arrived on the national scene.
He was brilliant in KU’s loss to Syracuse (89-81 in OT) in
the championship game on Tuesday, scoring 11 of his career-high 17
points in the first half.
With KU leading just 11-10 and star point guard Sherron Collins on the
bench with two fouls, KU looked in trouble. But then came Taylor to the
rescue. He scored all nine points in a furious 9-0 run to energize the
Jayhawks and propel Kansas to a 41-30 halftime lead, including a
three-pointer and a spectacular layup off a steal, where he dazzled KU
fans and the ESPN audience by eluding a defender with a nifty spin move
in the lane.
“I feel I just had to step it up,” Taylor said
about Collins’ absence. “I came out there and
played hard and tried my best to make plays for the team.”
Self was quite impressed.
“For a four or five-minute stretch (in the first half), he
was the best player in the game,” Self said. “He
did a lot of good things. He’s going to be a really good
Taylor also played well in the semifinal game against Washington on
Monday night. He scored 10 points (4-5 FG) and displayed his tremendous
athletic ability by racing downcourt to block a sure layup by
Huskies’ guard Isaiah Thomas.
“I saw it coming,” said sophomore center Cole Aldrich. “He does that every once in a while in practice. If
somebody gets a wide open layup, he always tried to run down and
Taylor is working hard on his game to become a complete player. Self
wants him to take care of the ball better and improve defensively.
“Tyshawn needs to be our lockdown defender on the
perimeter,” Self said. “If he learns to play with
his hands in a legal way, I think he has the same type of talent as
Mario to come up with steals and deflections and things like that I
don’t know if he can anticipate as well as Mario. I
don’t know who does, but I certainly think he can be a guy
who can be one of the steal leaders in our league eventually.”
If Taylor’s impressive play continues, the last commit of the
2008 KU recruiting class could rise to stardom much sooner than
Light's Coming On For Tyshawn
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