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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.
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Tuesday / June 28.
  • Former Kansas Guard Taylor Anxious to Help Nets

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    By JOSH NEWMAN

    Special to ZAGSBLOG

    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – That fact that Brooklyn Nets rookie point guard Tyshawn Taylor has taken a long, winding road to get to this point in his basketball career is not lost on the Hoboken native and former Kansas star.

    He has been under the brightest of spotlights since his high school days at St. Anthony of Jersey City, where he helped lead Hall of Fame head coach Bob Hurley’s fabled 2008 squad to a 32-0 record and a mythical national title as one of six Division I recruits.

    He had good days and bad days in Lawrence and all of it is well-chronicled. He’ll go down as a memorable figure for head coach Bill Self, having started for four years, amassing 1,580 points and a gaudy 127-21 record during his tenure.

    Mixed in the middle of all of that were what Taylor referred to as ‘minor hiccups’ on Thursday when the Nets’ Orlando Summer League roster convened for a four-day training camp. The biggest hiccup was arguably a fight with members of the Jayhawks football team in the fall of his sophomore year, which resulted in a dislocated thumb and four weeks on the shelf.

    “There have been ups and downs, but to be here makes it all worth,” Taylor said. “I was in the spotlight at my high school, another spotlight in Kansas and it just keeps transitioning. I’m just ready for this next step. It took a lot to get here, but I’m happy to be here, nevertheless.”

    The life of a second round NBA Draft pick can be described simply as ‘unsure,’ given the nature of non-guaranteed contracts, but Taylor will likely find himself in a good situation in Brooklyn.

    Taylor was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers with the 41st overall pick last week, but was immediately shipped to the Nets for cash considerations. While he was asked to help carry the load for the Friars and Jayhawks, that will obviously not be happening in Brooklyn.

    Instead, Taylor will play the role of eager pupil and learn from Deron Williams, who agreed to re-up with the team for five years and approximately $100 million.

    “He’s not going to beat Deron out,” Self told SNY.tv Thursday. “Maybe he can be a backup guard that’s big enough to defend the two and I think he’s so athletic, I think he’ll be a nice addition. I know he’s excited, and I’m really excited for him. They’re going to be good.”

    The Kansas coach added: “He’s excited to be back close to home. Sometimes that can be a negative, and sometimes that can be a positive. And hopefully for him it will be a huge positive being back close to home.”

    With Williams carrying the load and even with the Nets potentially bringing in another veteran point guard, Taylor stands to see some playing time given his  ball-handling, will to win and speed out top defensively.

    “I think I’m a winner, I think I’m a proven winner,” Taylor said. “I’ve been a part of really good teams and I’ve been a big part of each one. Anybody you ask from Kansas that is a Kansas fan and supports our program, they’ll tell you I gave it my all.”

    Photo:  CHRIS STEPPIG/AP

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    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.