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.
Legendary Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley says the Nets are getting a winner in Kansas point guard Tyshawn Taylor.
The 6-foot-3 Hoboken, N.J., native won a mythical national championship at St. Anthony in 2008, when he went undefeated on a team with a slew of Division 1 prospects.
Despite a controversial career at Kansas that involved several suspensions for off-the-court issues, Taylor helped the Jayhawks win four consecutive Big 12 regular-season titles and, along with fellow senior Thomas Robinson, guided the Jayhawks to the NCAA championship game, where they lost to Kentucky in New Orleans.
“He’s used to winning,” Hurley, whose teams have won 65 straight games entering the 2012-13 season, told SNY.tv. “He won in college, he won in high school. I think he’s going to be a better pro than anyone would’ve ever thought.”
Hurley said the Nets move to Brooklyn should stir a rivalry with the Knicks.
“It will be very exciting now because they’ll be in direct competition with the Knicks,” Hurley said. “I think Brooklyn certainly is already embracing the Nets going there.”
The Nets acquired the draft rights to Taylor (41st overall) from Portland and Tornike Shengelia (54th overall) from Philadelphia in exchange for cash, the team announced. Brooklyn also picked Ilkan Karaman with the 57th overall pick. Both Shengelia and Karaman will remain overseas next season.
“Brooklyn!” Taylor, 22, Tweeted.
Taylor averaged a career-high 16.6 points, 4.8 assists and 1.3 steals as a senior under coach Bill Self.
“We liked him. We had him pretty high on our board,” Nets GM Billy King told reporters in East Rutherford of Taylor, according to ESPN.com. “Avery [Johnson, the Nets’ coach] and I have been talking about getting a young point guard that we can groom down the road with his pedigree in winning big games. Once we saw him starting to slide, we started maneuvering to get there.
“His best basketball is ahead of him,” King added.
Because the Nets did not have a first-round pick, Hurley said, “[Taylor] is walking in like he’s the first-round pick.”
Still, uncertainty surrounds the Nets.
Deron Williams becomes an unrestricted free agent at 12:01 a.m. Sunday and will reportedly decide between the Nets and the Dallas Mavericks.
“It’s a great situation [for Taylor],” Hurley said. “He’ll get a chance to play with Deron Williams. Now there’s a lot surrounding them, so we’ll see whether or not [Taylor] is going to stay there or could he become part of a group of people who end up leaving with Dwight Howard [coming to Brooklyn].
“It’s very interesting, but I know people in the organization. Billy King is a good friend, P.J. Carlesimo is a very good friend, so I’m very happy for him because there’s going to be some really good people he’s going to work with.”
Hurley believes Taylor can play both guard spots for the Nets, who currently have just four players under contract.
“He’s a long, athletic kid who’s game is more suited to the NBA,” Hurley said. “In the open court he’s tremendous. I think he can guard guards. He can probably play a little bit of two guard also.”
Still, Hurley believes that seniors such as Taylor — and West Virginia’s Kevin Jones, who went undrafted — are penalized by staying in college for four years.
“My advice to kids is going to be, ‘If your dream is to be a pro, leave college early,'” Hurley said. “‘If you average 14 points as a freshman in college, you’re a lottery pick. If you average 17 a game as a senior, you’re going to go undrafted.’
“It’s utterly ridiculous. Look at Perry Jones if he had gone out after freshman year, and look at [Jared] Sullinger. If the two went out last year, they would’ve been a top five.” Both Jones and Sullinger are sophomores who went in the 20s on Thursday night.
“It’s a completely speculative draft now. It’s easier for the NBA people to make mistakes now because they’ll just say they’re making mistakes based on potential.”
He added: “If you have a professional career in the future in basketball, you’re better served just playing one year of college and going into the draft and rolling the dice.”
Photo: Orlin Wagner, AP
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.