Welcome to the H&R spotlight where we hope to tell the story behind the numbers and away from the ball. Literally think of it as a spotlight, where we focus all our attention on just one player. For the season opener I've decided to spotlight Jacquil Taylor, Purdue's 6'9" redshirt freshman from Massachusetts.
Taylor played six games last year before receiving a medical redshirt, so we've seen him before, but barely, and he remains an intriguing mystery with a lot of athletic upside. He only played 5 minutes on Friday, but if the exhibitions are any indication, it might be one of his longer stints on the court this year, especially considering all the depth we have in the front court and the need to mix that length with shooting.
1 pt, 2 rbs, 2 blks, 1 to, 1 pf
Taylor doesn't make it onto the floor until the 5:12 mark, and the score was 74-32.
On the first protection he blocks an attempted layup off the glass that leads to a semi-transition possession for Purdue that ends in a Ryan Cline three. The block was nice, Jacquil is very long and quick to get in the air, but on the offensive end shows off his potential as well. He does a good job running back, and diving to the rim. Hill fakes the pass to the cutting Taylor who sucks in the defender responsible for the trailing Cline. Taylor's cut to the rim is a thankless job, one that doesn't bring about any stat or metric, but his speed and size makes him a threat any time he heads to the rim, and as in this case, can create open looks for perimeter players.
Taylor draws an over the back foul on a missed free throw block out. It's worth noting, he did get pushed forward even before the foul. Taylor will struggle with big defenders who can push him around. Taylor misses his free throw, and his stroke did not look soft at the line. A bit of a line drive straight to the hoop.
Jacquil is long and quick. Switched well on the next defensive possession to the ball handler, but struggled to close off the obvious passing lane to his man and the roller got a decent look at the rim. Eventually, Jacquil's ability to switch onto smaller players is a huge advantage for someone that can play the 4 and 5.
Jacquil looks to find a body as soon as the shot goes up, but he fails to get his full body on his man and Taylor can't control the rebound. He tips it out of bounds instead and A&T gets another possession.
Again A&T uses Taylor's man for a pick and roll. He looks to lay back on the pick, but the guard crosses back and doesn't use the pick. Hill and Taylor both get blown by, Taylor was particularly caught off guard and standing in too upright a position and gets called for the foul on the layup. Again, he played the angle poorly and wasn't in a good defensive position to cut off the shortest driving lane to the basket.
Next possession after setting a back screen, Taylor pops out and has an open jumper. His form doesn't look bad, and there's a little more air under his jump shot than his free throw, but he takes the shot right on the three point line. This is the worst shot in basketball, and he misses it. He's probably got the ability to stretch defenses, but you have to have the aware to take that shot a few inches back to get the extra point. Oh, and he misses the jumper.
He ball watches on defense, leaving his man with too much of a bubble that close to the basket. Are we sure Jacquil isn't a cornerback for us, too?
Jacquil makes a nice hustle player on a long rebound after a Toyra miss three. He chases the ball, showing off a quick first step, before getting trapped in the corner and calling a timeout.
Jacquil's attempts at getting position in the post have been fruitless. When he does seal, it's about ten feet from the basket where neither team has any interest in him.
What I'm assuming is his second block, an A&T players drives off balance, blatantly travels when he almost falls, and attempts a shot from his hip that Taylor takes a big swat at and gets a piece. Decent positioning, but mostly the block just fell in his lap.
Another post up away from the basket, but Hill enters the ball to him and on the catch a foul is called. Taylor's first free throw bounces off the front of the rim and falls. The second hits hard off the back of the rim.
And that's it. He's still very raw, but down the line, his speed and length could combine to make him a block machine and a dynamic roller on pick and rolls that helps create easy dunks and open threes. For this year? It's doubtful he gets anything close to meaningful minutes. He's just not B10 ready yet.
Want us to spotlight someone in today's game against Vermont? Let us hear about it in the comment section.