Former LSU basketball star Derrick Taylor has played and coached in Europe for long enough that a trip home to Baton Rouge is especially sweet.
Taylor was in Baton Rouge last week visiting family and had an opportunity to tour the new LSU basketball practice facility.
"Oh, my goodness," Taylor said, during a telephone interview from the DFW Airport on his return trip home to Germany. "It's like another world. I was fascinated. That whole setup is really nice and professional."
He was not able to meet up with LSU basketball coach Johnny Jones, who has been both a teammate of Taylor's and a coach.
"I talked to him on the phone on Thursday," said Taylor, who was toured around the facility by LSU assistant Charlie Leonard. "He was out of town recruiting."
Taylor has a son, David (pronounced Dah-Vid) that is on LSU's radar as a basketball recruit.
David Taylor has played for several German club teams and is a member of the German U18 team. He is a 6-foot-2 point guard rated as the No. 13 prospect in Europe for 2013 by the website, Eurohopes.com. He got some exposure in front of scouts in the United States last year playing in the Jordan Brand International All-Star game in Charlotte, where he scored 16 points and had 3 assists.
Because of distance and differing school and basketball schedules, the recruitment of European prospects often occurs on a different timetable than American recruits. Derrick Taylor said the recruitment of his son has only just started.
"I'm probably a little late in getting information out there on David," he said. "He hasn't been heavily recruited, yet."
He has had conversations with Jones about David, even when Jones was the coach at North Texas.
"We talked about him a year ago," he said. "Things are different now, because it's LSU. It's a higher level, but we have talked recently. (Jones) has never seen him play. He knows him by reputation, but he hasn't scouted him yet. David would be a possibility for LSU."
A source at LSU confirmed to TSD that the Tigers' coaching staff is currently evaluating David Taylor.
Derrick Taylor said his son is "a pretty good student" and has heard from Stanford, California and N.C. State. "I go way back with (N.C. State coach) Mark Gottfried," he said.
A European scout contacted by TSD said that David Taylor was an excellent prospect last year, but has not made the expected improvement over the past year. The scout, who could not speak on the record about Taylor because his scouting reports were produced privately for professional teams, said that Taylor did not perform well at the European U18 championships.
A strong senior year could still propel David Taylor into a scholarship offer from a major college in the United States, perhaps even LSU.
"I think it would," said Derrick Taylor. "He definitely wants that college experience. German basketball is a little different. They want to get these kids to stay home and play professional basketball. Playing pro at 17 or 18 – I don't think they are ready for that."
LSU already has one commitment from a point guard, Tim Quarterman, and may not sign another one. However, Taylor will likely not make any visits or decisions until next summer. LSU's needs could be different at that time, as Jones will have a full year of evaluation of his current players and other recruits.
In the interim, Derrick Taylor is happy that his former teammate has taken over at LSU.
"I talked to (former LSU coach) Dale Brown when I was back home," said Taylor, who currently is a private basketball trainer in Germany for professional and youth players. "He said this was his big plan all along. It took some time. I think it's great for LSU, because LSU is a special place. You have to have some kind of connection there. I'm excited for him and excited for LSU."
Harris not visiting LSU
Kendall Harris is another point guard whose recruitment has been affected by the commitment of Quarterman to LSU. Harris, of Antioch, Cal., was originally scheduled to visit LSU this weekend for the South Carolina football game. Quarterman's commitment changed that.
According to his AAU coach, LeRohn Dodson of Team Superstar in Fresno, Cal., Harris will now be visiting Kansas this weekend for their Midnight Madness.
"(LSU) backed off of him a little bit," Dodson said. "I think they are still recruiting him, but they are just stringing him along right now. Wherever he goes, I think he will be a really good player."
Besides Kansas, Harris is considering UNLV, San Jose State, Connecticut, Long Beach State, Oregon State and Southern California. Of those schools, only San Jose State has offered.
Who is left?
Things could change as the season unfolds, but at this point, with four commitments, LSU's recruiting has narrowed down quite a bit. Dallas guard Keith Frazier and Baton Rouge forward Jarell Martin are the two main players LSU is focusing on currently.
Forward Brian Bridgewater of Baton Rouge is also on LSU's recruiting list, but is still being evaluated by the LSU staff. He also could play college football, which clouds up his recruitment.
Shirmane Thomas of Dallas is a guard that LSU looked at very early on in recruiting, but he is no longer being considered by the staff.
Depending on the upcoming season and any possible attrition, David Taylor and British center Dylan Johns are possibilities if they continue to improve.
Basketball Recruiting Notebook
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