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23 Days to Purdue Basketball: Jacquil Taylor

There’s still one lingering question for the big man.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Can he stay healthy?

The redshirt junior has already missed two seasons to injury and is currently sidelined with a stress fracture in the same ankle that kept him off the court last year.

The cruel part for Purdue Boilermaker fans is that his value for Purdue has never been more certain. Taylor looked like he was on the way to being healthy and finally being able to show off his unique blend of athleticism and length. He made it all the way through Purdue’s trip to Taipei the World University Games.

His play was a revelation. Jacquil looked confident and comfortable on the court. More than just playing well though, he looked like the perfect back up center to the bruising Isaac Haas.

Jacquil’s ability to hedge and recover on defense single-handedly killed most pick and rolls. He was a strong rebounder. He showed a surprising amount of finesse on offense for someone who hadn’t seen real action in years. He didn’t seem to have any holes to his game while covering up Haas’s biggest flaw. At times, the team looked better with Taylor in than Haas who seemed to struggle with the rigorous back-to-back-to-back schedule for the World Games.

This was going to be a break out year for Taylor. Now, the worry continues that he’s just broken.

Purdue is hopeful Taylor will only miss the lead-up to the season, but big men with reoccurring foot issues don’t tend to skew to the optimist.

Purdue will hope Taylor is the exception. The Boilers are a senior-heavy team with few holes. Taylor’s playing goes a long way towards shoring those up as well as filling the void of 1st round draft pick Caleb Swanigan.