Texas combo guard is a two-time all-state pick and a top-75 national recruit.
Nov. 11, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. - Oklahoma men's basketball head coach Jeff Capel announced today that T.J. Taylor, a 6-3, 205-pound guard from Denison, Texas, has signed a letter of intent with the Sooners.
Taylor, a left-handed senior at Denison High School, is rated by ESPN.com as the No. 71 overall player in the 2010 recruiting class and by Rivals.com as the No. 91 player.
Taylor averaged 27.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 3.0 steals per game last year for a 21-11 Denison squad that advanced to the area finals of the Class 4A state tournament. He was named a Texas Association of Basketball Coaches all-state pick each of the last two seasons, and was also his district's offensive player of the year as a sophomore and a junior.
"T.J. is a strong left-handed guard who can play both guard positions," said Capel. "He's very physical and he can shoot it. One of my favorite things about him is that he loves to play, he loves to compete.
"He broke his ankle in June and wasn't able to participate in the AAU events in July. But he's responded very nicely and is back playing and working out. We're really excited about him joining the OU family."
Taylor recorded three triple-doubles last year as a junior. His career scoring high of 40 points also came last year against Frisco's Liberty High School.
Said first-year Denison head coach Jody Bass, "OU's getting a very good player. T.J. has the ability to shoot the 3, get to the rim and finish, and shoot the mid-range jump shot. So he's got the whole package offensively. He's big and strong, has good feet and quickness, and has the ability to defend well. I just think he's a really, really good player and OU is fortunate to get him."
Added former Denison head coach Scott Curran, who is in his first year as head coach at Fort Worth's Byron Nelson High School, "I think the University of Oklahoma is getting possibly the best guard in Texas. I think he's going to get even better at the next level."
|| OU Head Coach Jeff Capel
On Taylor's position:
"He's just a good guard. I think good guards can do a bunch of different things. I wouldn't pigeonhole T.J. into one spot. To me, that takes away from his strengths. I wouldn't say he's just a point and I wouldn't say he's just a two. He's a good guard. The most important thing is he's a guy who helps you win."
On Taylor's best assets:
"I think his best strength is his strength. He's versatile and is just a good guard. He has a good feel for the game as far as passing the ball and seeing things. I also think he has the chance to be a really good defender for us."
|| Denison HS Head Coach Jody Bass
On Taylor off the court:
"He's an awesome kid. You think about the circumstances he's faced with -- the guy who coached him since he was a freshman leaves and an old, crusty guy like me comes in. He's accepted everything we've asked him to do, he's been a leader on the floor and he plays hard all the time. He's not a selfish player at all and he's doing everything he can in the class room. He's just a hard-working kid who's fun to be around."
On if Taylor's fully recovered from his ankle injury:
"Yes, I would so say after watching him practice last night. He put on a little bit of a show."
|| Former Denison HS Head Coach Scott Curran
General thoughts on Taylor:
"I coached him the last three years and I think he's really special. As a player, he can do so many different things. I think the thing you'll see out of him at the next level that you might not see so much at the high school level is his court vision. He makes everyone around him look better. He can make an average player look good. He's very unselfish. He's really got the whole package -- he can shoot it, he can put it on the floor, he can pass it."
On Taylor's work ethic and demeanor:
"One of the things that makes him so special is that he's a great kid, a good-hearted kid who wants what's best for the team. He's not into individual stats or accolades. He's fun to be around and works his tail off. He's talented, but he's worked for what he's gotten. Through all his high school years, I don't think I've ever coached a game with him when he wasn't the best player on the floor."
On Taylor at Oklahoma:
"With all the resources at Oklahoma and with the coaching staff, I think he's a perfect fit. I sort of thought that from day one when they recruited him. They did such a good job and were very professional about everything. I just sort of knew that that's where he'd end up."