Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Tyshawn Taylor is going from one national champion to another.
The 6-foot-3 guard who played for a St. Anthony High School team that went 32-0 and won a mythical high school national championship under head coach Bob Hurley has given an oral commitment to Kansas, which won the NCAA championship under head coach Bill Self.
“I think the visit was pretty much the deciding factor,” Taylor said of his visit to campus last week. “The atmosphere as far as basketball was unbelievable. It was beautiful there. The campus was beautiful. The players are cool. Coach Self is a great coach. It was just unbelievable.”
“When it comes down to it, it’s a highly unusual situation when you play on a national championship team in high school and go to a school that wins a national championship that year,” Hurley added. “That’s unique, I think.”
A first-team All-State selection who averaged 10 points during the regular season and 15 in the Tournament of Champions, Taylor initially committted to Marquette but asked for his release when coach Tom Crean left for Indiana and was replaced by Buzz Williams.
He ultimately chose Kansas over Georgia Tech, which had recruited him the first time around.
“I had known last night that I was going to narrow it down to Georgia Tech and Kansas and I let Coach (Paul) Hewitt know how I was feeling,” Taylor said. “I told him, ‘I’m kind of like fighting between you and Kansas.’ And I called him and told him I was going to sleep on it. When I woke up this morning I decided that (Kansas was) what I want to do. I called coach Hurley and he gave me his blessing.”
Taylor becomes the fourth Kansas recruit in this class with ties to New Jersey. St. Patrick of Elizabeth forward Quintrell Thomas and twins Marcus and Markieff Morris of Apex Academy in Pennsauken all committed before Kansas won the NCAA title over Memphis. The Jayhawks will also get an unofficial visit this weekend from Brooklyn Lincoln star Lance Stephenson.
“That’s cool,” Taylor said of the fellow Jersey recruits. “It’s great. It ‘ll be cool to play with those guys.”
Self and assistant Joe Dooley, a Jersey native, are in the Garden State today and plan to visit both Thomas and Taylor.
Taylor said he’s looking forward to the opportunity to contribute next year, something he was worried about at Marquette with its logjam of guards.
“I’m going to have to compete for minutes. They see me playing like a Russell Robinson-type of player. I can defend bigger guards. I can also handle the ball or play off the ball when Sherron Collins is at the point.”
Added Hurley: “The worst case is (Mario) Chalmers comes back (and is not drafted) and he comes in off the bench and becomes the third guard and battles whoever else is there. Or Chalmers isn’t there and he goes right in.”
Hurley sent six seniors to Division I programs this year, three to the Atlantic 10, two to the Big East, including Rutgers-bound McDonald’s All-American Mike Rosario, and now one to the Big 12.
“We just lit the candle on the cake for the kids,” Hurley said “Everybody’s going to head off and I think there all going to enjoy this.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.