Finding his looks

Kammron Taylor enjoyed an impressive debut in Wisconsin's first exhibition game

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Freshman Kammron Taylor may look like Chris Rock, or perhaps past Wisconsin basketball great Michael Finley, but Taylor is proving he is more than a celebrity look-a-like.


The 6-2, 175-pound guard from Minneapolis, Minn. posted respectable numbers in his Kohl Center debut against the EA-Sports All Stars: 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting along with three steals.


Though it all seemed to come with ease, Taylor was nervous prior to his first game.


"I was so excited," Taylor said. "A lot of stuff was just running through my head in the locker room. I was trying to get myself psyched up for the game. Just talking to Devin (Harris) and asking ‘How do you play this first game?' And he told me just go out there and play my game, don't try to force anything."


Assistant coach Rob Jeter took note of how Taylor made the transition and reacted his first time on the floor.


"As coaches I think we're critical at times," Jeter said. "We try to focus on the things that you want to get better. But I think his poise as a freshman really struck me as one of the best things I saw him do on Saturday."


Coming into the season Taylor was expected to primarily back up junior point guard Devin Harris. During his time on the floor, Taylor found himself playing alongside Harris at the two guard spot and was also found calling the shots in the backcourt when Harris took a breather.


Whether it is in the game or during practice, Jeter has seen the many qualities that help Taylor contribute to the mix.


"He fits in everyday at practice," Jeter said. "For the last couple of years we haven't had someone at practice with his quickness that can really push the guy on the other side, which is usually Devin. He fits in well as far as the quickness that we see when we have to face teams and he brings a lot of that to the table."


Besides quickness, Taylor has another trick up his sleeve with his outside shot. Though he started off shaky by missing his first three-point attempt against EA Sports, he did not back down and went four-for-six from beyond the arc, knocking down open looks throughout the game.


"Maybe they didn't think he could shoot the ball," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "I think once the word gets out—I don't think he is going to find himself that wide open any more. He took advantage of what the other team gave him—that is the great part of it."


"When I came here a lot of people didn't think I could shoot because my shot was off in the summertime," Taylor said. "But back home that was what I was known for, being able to shoot the ball, but here I've got that game where I can go to the lane or shoot the ball."


Even though the game against EA Sports was just an exhibition, Taylor proved that he could hold his own at the college level. These games provide good experience for new players but there will have to be even more of a pick up once the Big Ten season tips off.


"All new guys really don't have a sense of the physical play, the crowd, the attention to detail that you have to have when you move up to conference play," Jeter said. "Guys in our league are very strong. These are the types of things he needs to get used to and as a freshman it's hard because you are a year behind, sometimes four years behind guys because they've been in the league a lot longer. So it just takes time for maturity."


As the season unfolds, Taylor's main goal is to "help the team as best as he can." He will have plenty of opportunities to do this as well as work on learning that Big Ten intensity, perfecting his game and maybe even making his name known.


"I've been hearing them since like the seventh grade so I'm used to it," Taylor joked. "The Michael Finley thing is new though. Everyone started saying that when I got here. I mean I can see the Chris Rock a little bit but not really. I don't have a problem being compared to Michael Finley. He's the best player to come out of here."

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