Hometown: Tabernacle, NJ
- 2012 Times of Trenton Player-of-the-Year
- Scored 1,042 points in high school career (14th all-time
at Trenton Catholic Academy)
- Averaged 15.9 ppg/9.5 rpg his senior season
You may remember last week when I wrote (https://lionspride.wpengine.com/2012/11/how-will-penn-state-adjust-to-life-without-frazier-029.html) that the remainder of Penn State’s season would be dedicated to rebuilding the roster and developing some of the young talent Pat Chambers has. I know that is not what many Penn State fans would like to hear. Ideally, this team wishes it could recruit the way John Calipari does at Kentucky and essentially skip any and all program restoration phases. However, if that were the case, fans would miss the opportunity to see relatively unknown recruits work hard and start to blossom before our eyes. Such has been the narrative of Brandon Taylor, who, with a little bit of luck and opportunism, has seen his role in his freshman season with the Lions grow exponentially (thanks Tim Frazier).
Brandon Taylor had been showing an early spark off the bench this season and once a spot opened up in the starting lineup Pat Chambers knew exactly where to turn.
“He’s played well the last few games and hopefully he can continue that,” Chambers said of the 6’7 freshman. “That’s a confident kid. That’s the type of confidence that we need to continue to have regardless of the circumstances.”
Taylor may not have been a household name in State College when he made his debut earlier this season, but that is not to say he was not a solid recruit. Taylor was a good scorer and rebounder in high school. Dave Telep, the Senior College Basketball Recruiting Analyst for ESPN, described Taylor as a “prototypical mismatch problem” with “the physical tools and basketball skills to score both inside and out.” The problem with Brandon coming out of high school was that he had been dealing with enduring foot problems which caused him to lose about two months of physical activity. This lapse was a major factor in him pushing the 260 lb. mark upon his arrival in Happy Valley. Taylor spent much of offseason getting back into shape (and eventually dropping about 25 lbs.) and that cost him a chance to really get into sync with his teammates, thus keeping him out of the rotation during pre season.
But as the season tipped off, it became increasingly difficult for Chambers to keep this kid off the floor. And now with D.J. Newbill moving over to handle the point guard duties, it seems as if there will be a permanent spot in the lineup for Taylor. As a small forward that can punish his counterpart on the glass or a power forward that can stretch to the 3 point line, Taylor will provide the Nittany Lions a new dimension to their offense. Furthermore, he fits perfectly into Pat Chambers’ half-court schemes. A disciple of Jay Wright at Villanova, Chambers also likes to employ the 4-out/1-in offense that relies on a big body being able to step outside and space the floor.
Players on Penn State such as sophomore forward Ross Travis are certainly happy to have him on the floor more. “We can definitely depend on him to be in the right sports, shoot the ball with confidence when he’s open and it just adds another place to the offense that can score,” said Travis of Taylor.
So now that Brandon Taylor is up to speed on the division 1 game, I hope that you are just as excited as I am to see this kid grow and mature into a really solid 4-year player for the Nittany Lions.