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Terry Taylor: the NCAA’s best kept NBA level secret

Terry Taylor had a monster season last year, winning OVC Player of the Year. He now has the Governors favored to win the OVC crown headed into the 2020-21 season.
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Terry Taylor is another NBA level player that has dominated the Ohio Valley Conference during his career.   

The 2020 OVC player of the year may not be as flashy as Ja Morant, or as consistent from three as Dylan Windler, but he brings his own style to the game that any NBA team can use after his senior season this year. 

Taylor’s junior year was historic, he averaged 21.8 points per game, 11.0 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. He was a threat on the boards nightly and proved a matchup nightmare for any team aiming to gameplan against him.

 

What Terry Taylor does well

At 6’5 230 pounds he offers Austin Peay a level of flexibility and switchability on the floor that other teams covet. These two things are a necessity in order to play at the NBA level. As the game moves towards a more positionless status, being able to guard 1-5 assures that Taylor has the ability to keep up with the modern innovations of the game. 

He has the strength to match up with forwards, and he doesn’t give up rebounds to bigger players. He is great positionally, and he does his work early to carve out space to gobble up rebounds. 

His second game against Belmont expressed his immense skill in scoring, but especially in rebounding. 

In 39 minutes, Taylor tallied 26 points and 23 rebounds. He often matched up with Belmont forward Tyler Scanlon and center Nick Muszynski. Both of whom were held to five rebounds or less as Taylor seemingly owned the glass. 

He plays gritty. The most appealing aspect about his game is just how hard he plays–that can’t be understated when going through talent evaluation. The fact that he cares so deeply about his team winning and him playing well, showcases a player who holds themselves to a star standard. He has self-belief. And in a game that is all about confidence self-belief is paramount. 

After three season’s Taylor became the only player in the nation to lead his team in both points per game and rebounds. He also became the only player in school history to have three straight 500-point seasons. 

And following this monster season Taylor tested the predraft process, but ultimately decided on returning toe Peay for his senior year. 

Another dominant season can only aid in Taylor building his NBA draft resume. 

Where Terry Taylor can improve

The question surrounding Taylor‘s game is the jump shot and how that can translate to the NBA game. He shot 70 percent from the free-throw line in his career, and in his junior season, that percentage dropped to 65 percent. 

Free throws are often good indicators of touch when it comes to jump shots. In the NBA the three-point line is farther from the basket. Having great touch is paramount if a player wants to be a serviceable shooter while on the floor. 

Low free-throw percentages function as warning signs for someone who has a decent college three-point percentage. For example see Lonzo Ball or Markelle Fultz, both shot in the 60s from the free-throw line, but had great college three-point percentages. Their jump shots didn’t translate to the pro game. 

The good news here is that Taylor shot 75 percent from the free-throw line during his sophomore season and 74 percent during his freshman campaign. Though not great, those two numbers show ability, and ability can always be improved on.

His three-point numbers aren’t terrific, and it’s impossible to protract work ethic over to the NBA level, but his mechanics aren’t horrific. Nothing in his jump shot is broken, in fact, it’s relatively smooth. One can think that with NBA shooting coaches those percentages can only improve. 

It should be NBA or bust

In short, Terry Taylor is a real NBA level talent. His senior season will only go to prove that to a greater extent. He has the athleticism and speed to match up with other guards. But Taylor also possesses the strength to rebound with bigs six inches taller than him. He offers basketball teams dexterity and he gives them the ability to play small, but not give up the effect of having another forward on the floor. 

He’s a unicorn so to speak, but he is a legit NBA level player. Those who don’t follow mid-major basketball may have never heard of him, but now you know. And this season he’s going to put the Governors on the map. 

If you want to check out related reading here is a player profile on Pedro Bradshaw.

Author

  • Ian Kayanja

    I am a college basketball writer primarily based in Nashville, covering all mid-major activity along with Big Ten hoops.