When Myck Kabongo announced that he was entering the 2013 NBA Draft on Friday, the common thought line is that Texas would struggle again next year. But for guys like incoming freshman guard Isaiah Taylor, Kabongo's decision represented an opportunity to come in and immediately make an impact.
"I think I can honestly replace some of what Myck did," Taylor said. "I'm the type of guy who tries to get everybody involved and creates opportunities for my teammates. I'm known for being very quick, that's just what other people have said, and I've been really working on my mid-range jumper.
"I think, when you look at playing me with [wings like] Julien Lewis and Demarcus Croaker, I can work well with those guys," Taylor said. "We can replace a lot of things, and I'm up for the challenge."
Taylor said Texas assistant coach Rob Lanier has talked with him about getting multiple ball-handlers on the court at the same time.
"We can get a bunch of different kinds of players on the floor together," Taylor said. "He said me, Kendal [Yancy-Harris] and Demarcus could all play at the same time sometimes. You have a lot of different guards at Texas that you can put on the court together."
That includes pairing returning point guard Javan Felix with Taylor at times.
"To me, just from last year, Javan is more of a scorer than I am," Taylor said. "He's a slow-it-down kind of point guard, whereas I'm more of a fast-break guy and a distributor. So it's great that we could have that kind of balance together."
One of the things that could also make that partnership work is the fact that the long-armed Taylor, a bigger point guard at taller than 6-foot-2, has the quickness and ability to defend multiple positions.
"Just from being a quick guard, I try to get my hands on a lot of balls," Taylor said. "I take pride in my defense. I'm not known for picking up my guy full court, like Avery Bradley. But I try to get my hands into the passing lands and really just be a hassle."
This year, many people pointed out that the Longhorns were the youngest team in the country, a point driven home even more emphatically when Texas was playing without the suspended Kabongo.
"Last year, the backlash on Texas was that everybody was young," Taylor said. "But even with bringing in three freshman guards, we don't want to use that excuse. Throw that out. Really, it just helps us mature, and we get to get used to the style of college basketball.
"I'm just looking forward to getting on the court with everybody," Taylor said.