The Under Armour Elite 24 game and festivities will be held this weekend at the famed Venice Beach outdoorcourts. Meant as a celebration of street basketball and its rich history, each year the event brings together many of the nation's top players, and in Taphorn's case, three-point specialists.
Nominated for the event by his AAU coach Mike Mullins, Taphorn, of Pekin High School will represent Northwestern and the state of Illinois in the contest on Saturday. His selection recognizes the 6-foot-6 forward as one of the top shooters in not only the state, but across the country.
"[Being selected] is huge, I can't explain it really," said Taphorn. "I'm just in shock, it all happened so fast and I'm still kind of soaking it in. I can't believe it's happening." After being chosen by the Elite 24's selection committee, Taphorn quickly began preparations for the contest. Rather than concerning himself with too much strategy, the rising senior is keeping things simple.
"I've just been shooting over and over again," explained Taphorn. "The past two days I've gotten up a few hundred shots each day. It means a lot to me, it's a chance to put myself on the map. I don't really mind doing that."
Despite being known for his long-range prowess, this will be Taphorn's first time participating in a three-point contest. The future Wildcat is excited to represent Northwestern for the first time on a big stage, but also at the chance to relax and take in his surroundings.
"I think it's all fun and games; getting out there and hanging with guys who love the game you love," said Taphorn. "It's a chance to get to know some of the guys I'll be playing with the next few years, some of the best players in my class. That's the part I look more forward to than just going there, shooting and leaving. I want to make the best of the whole experience."