2012 Draft Central - Taylor Happy to Come Home
June 29, 2012
BROOKLYN, N.Y.—Kansas senior Tyshawn Taylor, acquired by the Nets during Thursday's NBA Draft, spoke with media Friday on a conference call with the team beat writers. The 22-year-old Hoboken, N.J. native spoke about the draft process and playing near his hometown.
Tyshawn Taylor is still waiting for this to sink in: He's been drafted. After graduating from Kansas with a communications degree, four NCAA Tournament appearances and a championship-game loss to Kentucky, the Hoboken, N.J. native will be representing the Brooklyn Nets at the Orlando Pro Summer League next week.
The Nets acquired Taylor in the second round of Thursday's NBA Draft, sending cash to the Trail Blazers after they selected the 6-foot-3 guard with the 11th selection of the second round (No. 41 overall). In a Friday conference call with team media, Taylor said he had interviewed with Nets executives at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, but his final destination was unknown.
"I had no clue," Taylor said. "I thought I was going to Portland. After I squeezed by my mom for like 10 minutes -- she hugged me -- I turned around and I seen that I was going to Brooklyn and I literally jumped from where I was sitting and ran from the building screaming, because I was a little bit more excited about that."
Taylor played the point for Kansas last year, averaging 16.6 points and 4.8 assists on .477 shooting (.382 from three) in 29.2 minutes. He did commit 3.5 turnovers per game, and knows that number will have to come down if he's to succeed in the NBA.
But playing for Bill Self's Jayhawks helped Taylor through an admittedly rocky maturation process, on and off the court. Taylor didn't shy away from his missteps, instead embracing the growth opportunity they've offered him.
"Four years at a program like Kansas, playing under a system and playing under a great coach, I think helped me a lot," Taylor said. "I grew as a person, I grew as a player and I'm ready to make the next steps in my life. I think the Draft is just one step in me showing my maturity and moving on."
On court, Taylor developed into more of a "student of the game," focusing on film study to help understand where he gets himself in trouble and also picking up what it means to be part of a winning team: sacrifice and togetherness. Taylor expects to make an immediate impact with his toughness and defensive ability, believing himself capable of guarding players at either guard position.
The 22-year-old increased his scoring average more than seven points per game as a senior, taking more shots without a notable decrease in shooting efficiency. That likely encouraged Nets coach Avery Johnson, who knows something about playing point guard successfully in the NBA.
"As a competitor, as a player and a confident player, I think that I could've went in the first round or I should've, but I'm happy with where I'm at," Taylor said. "I'd rather be in a better situation (like this) than picked early and not in such a good situation."
For more on the 2012 NBA Draft, check out Draft Central, presented by Party City.