Name :    Jahmel Taylor (2013)
Scout :    3-Star and #23 Point Guard
Height :   6 ft 0 in
Weight :  160lbs

An even 6 feet tall and 160lbs, Jahmel Taylor’s physical stature screams “Point Guard”. Tallying 20.8 points and an average of almost 16 shot attempts per game Jahmel Taylor’s stat sheet screams “Shooting Guard”. Stature versus stats. The battle has landed Taylor the combo-Guard label which often teeters on the brink of the less preferred “tweener”. The quicker Taylor takes to refining a few key areas, the quicker he takes his already well-developed game to another level, and ends any and all “tweener” talk.

One of my favorite questions to ask the basketball players I profile is as follows: “Your team is down by 1, 10 seconds remain in the game, and you have the ball. Are you looking to take the last shot or are you working to setup a teammate?” Jahmel Taylor’s response speaks volumes as to the mindset he takes to the court, “I am looking to take the last shot 100% but if my teammate happens to have the better shot and is wide open, considering the situation and where he is on the court, then ill get him the ball.” There’s no doubt in my mind Taylor is a Shooting Guard who just happened to land in a Point Guard’s body. A true scorers mentality is not as prevalent as many may assume. If you’ve watched much of the recent NBA Playoffs it’s clear those paid to score are not always comfortable attempting to do so if/when the game is on the line. What may ultimately shape Taylor’s basketball future is his ability to force his way clear of the “tweener” label and establish himself as a true combo-Guard. His Assist to Turnover ratio and shot selection represent areas of significant opportunity and improving each would send his recruit stock to that next level.

As a Sophomore at Sierra Canyon (Ca.) Taylor dimed out 100 Assists and committed 112 Turnovers for a .89 Assist-to-Turnover Ratio. The ’11-’12 campaign ended with similar numbers as he finished with 76 Assists against 96 Turnovers for a .79 Assist-to-Turnover Ratio. During the most recent NCAA season North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall led D1 with a 3.48 ratio. Assuming Taylor continues to refine his ball-handling and passing, and his Sierra Canyon supporting cast improves on last season’s 41% FG, it’s reasonable to expect Taylor’s ratio to climb north of 1.2 over the course of his Senior season. On the shooting/scoring side, last season Taylor was just one of two Sierra Canyon ballers to average more than 10pts per game, and his FG% dropped a bit (41% overall, 29% from 3pt) as he often took it upon himself to carry the offensive workload. The ability is most certainly present, it appears just a matter of improving the shot selection to take the FG%’s back towards ’10-’11 results (48% overall, 40% from 3pt). Taylor accomplishes both (A-T of 1.2+ and FG% of 48+) and this 3-Star #23 overall Point Guard quickly becomes a 4-star Top 10 type Point Guard.

Possessing next level quickness and athleticism, as well as a strong work ethic and drive to improve, my expectation is Taylor takes his ’12-’13 game up another notch and establishes himself as a target of multiple high major D1 schools. 23-24 Points and 4.5-5.0 Assists per game are well within reason and would further cement his standing as an upper echelon West Coast recruit. It may appear counter-intuitive to encourage improved shot selection and to expect an increase in scoring average. Taylor is strong from the Free-Throw line (82% last season) and possesses the handles, strength, and athleticism to thrive as dribble-drive/slasher. In dialing down the 3’s and focusing more on a mid-range and penetration style I would expect to see an increase in FG% and FTA’s, and thereby an increase in points scored.

When asked which area(s) of his game he was looking to improve, Taylor’s response spoke volumes regarding his mindset, “I’m looking to improve every part of my game because there is never a time you can’t get better at a certain area of basketball”. Satisfaction often leads to complacency and I don’t get the sense either has found its way into Taylor’s vocabulary. Much of the apparent drive and determination appear long ago instilled by the man Jahmel counts as having most impacted his game. “He (Taylor’s father) explains my strengths and weakness to me, not just as a father who wants to praise his son, but as a leader who wants to see me succeed in what I love.” There’s little doubt Jahmel Taylor lands multiple D1 offers and performs well at the next level. Just how far he takes his natural ability, and therefore what level of offer he receives, will almost certainly come down to his ability and desire to refine it. Add a little more efficiency to his already productive game and a true combo-Guard will emerge.

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