Q&A: Tyshawn Taylor

Kansas point guard believes full college experience prepared him for NBA
by Aaron Lopez

As a four-year starter at Kansas, point guard Tyshawn Taylor is one of the most experienced players in this year’s NBA draft. He now feels it is his time to shine at basketball's highest level.

In an era where the top NBA prospects rarely play four years at the same school, Taylor celebrated his senior season by leading Kansas on a memorable run to the NCAA title game against Kentucky.

As the floor general for one of the top teams in the nation, he averaged a career-high 16.6 points, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals for the Jayhawks in 2011-12. He was recognized with a third-team All-American selection.

Because of Kansas’ proximity to Colorado, Taylor was able to watch the Denver Nuggets on Altitude Sports & Entertainment. Needless to say, he liked what he saw.

“I love how they play,” Taylor said. “They get up and down and let their guards play and create for the team. I would love to be in a situation like that.”

Taylor was at Pepsi Center on Monday for a predraft workout with the Nuggets. Afterwards, he took some time to sit down with for a few questions.

Q: First off, welcome to Denver. Have you ever been here before? Did you notice the altitude?
A: “I’ve never been to Denver to just hang out and chill, but I have been to the airport a couple times. I have been to Colorado Springs and Boulder a couple times but never Denver. The altitude is cool. I guess I felt it a little bit today towards the end of the workout, but it wasn’t bothering me too much.”

Q: Obviously you had a heartbreaking loss in the NCAA title game last year. What did you learn from that experience that you can bring to a team next season?
A: “Just my maturity. Being a four-year starter at a program like Kansas got me NBA-ready. I think that was one of the reasons why I stayed four years, because I didn’t feel like I was ready the other couple years. Running a team that has won a lot of games and been in a lot of big games, I think I’m just ready to be an NBA point guard.”

Q: With so many guys leaving college early, what do you think was an advantage of you staying all four years?
A: “I think I just got better (being able) to run a team in a system like that with a great coach and really good other players. I played with like five first-round draft picks in my four years, so just to be able to play with those talents and be the point guard on that team, I feel like I’m ready.”

Q: Did you follow the Nuggets at all this year? If so what were your thoughts?
A: “The Nuggets were on TV a lot in the Midwest. We had the Denver Nuggets channel (Altitude) in Kansas, so I watched a lot of their games.”

Q: The Nuggets are known for a fast-paced type of play. Would you say that fits your game?
A: “Perfectly. I would love to play for a team like that.”

Q: What is the one thing you are really trying to prove in your pre-draft workouts?
A: “I think more so off the court, my thing is to meet with the team and get to talk to them and them getting a feel for what kind of person I am. I think a lot of teams know my ability and know that I am ready to play in this league. They just have questions about what kind of person I am. When I can sit down and knock those questions out of the park, I think they feel better about me and more comfortable with me and get a good feel for what kind of person I am.”