It has been a long and winding journey for Ryan Taylor. From Crown Point High School to Michigan City High School to St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy to Ohio University to the University of Evansville. That was just over the last 6 years — and the adventure is about to take a new turn as Taylor has announced his intent to transfer from Evansville.
Evansville’s media guide lists the 6-6, 195 lb Taylor’s hometown as Gary, Indiana. We’d suggest that perhaps Taylor is still searching for a place to call home. Like everyone playing high level college basketball, Taylor is plotting a course that puts him in the best position to realize his potential. With one year of eligibility remaining, his next step will be his last chance to shine, and it appears that he will attempt to do it on college basketball’s biggest stage.
Taylor will have no shortage of options on where to play. Reports have indicated that more than two dozen programs have expressed interest in the shooting guard. Because he will have already earned a degree at Evansville, Taylor will be eligible to play immediately at his school of choice for the 2018-19 season.
Taylor may have learned an appreciation for a change of scenery after touring Europe during his father’s overseas professional basketball career. You can see him discussing that and other aspects of his upbringing here:
The video really provides some interesting insights into Taylor’s personality and character. He made a really interesting point about improving the most when things were going bad last year. Moreover, his goals for this season were all around helping his teammates get better and he acknowledged how that ultimately makes him better. Clearly some team is going to get a grounded, humble, family man on their roster next year.
Playing out his high school career at Michigan City under head coach John Boyd, Taylor averaged 14 points, three rebounds, two assists, 1.6 blocks and 1.6 steals per game and earned a selection to participate in Indiana’s Northwest All-Star Classic according to Evansville’s website.
Taylor wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school and chose to attend St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wisconsin. Taylor excelled at St. John’s where he averaged 23 points, six rebounds and three assists per game for the Lancers in 2013-14.
His performance at his year of prep school was enough to attract the attention of several Division 1 programs. Taylor received interest from Creighton and Seton Hall and was on Michigan’s radar as well.
Ultimately, Ohio University was Taylor’s best alternative. He came to the program just after Ohio’s string of successful seasons that were led by head coach Jon Groce before he left for Illinois.
Taylor started for new Ohio coach Saul Phillips since the 2014-15 season opener. He played in 29 games making 28 starts as a freshman for the Bobcats and finished fourth on the team, averaging 8.1 points per game to got with 2.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.
Much to the surprise of Phillips and Ohio, Taylor announced his intent to transfer in the summer of 2015 and ultimately chose to attend Evansville. He had to sit out the mandatory year due to the NCAA transfer rules and thus didn’t play during the 2015-16 campaign.
UNIVERSITY OF EVANSVILLE
In his first year with the Purple Aces, Taylor shared the spotlight with fellow guard Jaylon Brown. Taylor put together a solid season averaging 14.1 points per game while shooting 43.7% from the field and, 37.5% from distance. He also grabbed 2.9 rebounds per game.
Evansville experienced significant roster turnover going into the 2017-18 season and it set-up perfectly for Taylor to take a leading role. He certainly didn’t back down from the opportunity, averaging 21.3 points per game while shooting 42.6% from the field overall and 42.4% from distance. He added 3.8 rebounds per game.
Taylor missed a month of the season with a foot injury, but made it back in time to be first team all-MVC. Indiana fans will likely also appreciate knowing that he is a solid free throw shooter as well, shooting north of 85% for his career.
As you can see in these videos, his high level of play this past season earned the respect of his former head coach Marty Simmons and his teammates.
Here one last look at Taylor produced by the Missouri Valley Conference. He appears to be a somewhat reluctant leader, perhaps out of the same mold as Robert Johnson. His soft-spoken manner reminds you of the former IU guard. But much like Johnson, it is clear that Taylor found a way to lead when duty called.
With so many options on the table it is difficult to guess where Taylor may go. With only one year remaining to showcase his abilities you have to believe he will end up in a situation where he can be a significant part of a team’s game plan.
If the Hoosiers are fortunate enough to have him on the roster, we’d guess that at worst you are getting a 3-point shooting specialist in the mold of Nick Ziesloft. At best? In light of his improvement at Evansville, the sky is the limit. He’s got a build and a game that reminds you of Keita Bates-Diop. Could he go from first team All-MVC to first team All-Big Ten? That’s a long way to go and we aren’t suggesting he could get there. But if anyone knows how to make big moves and cover long distances, it’s Taylor.
You can follow us on Twitter: @daily_hoosier
Find us on Facebook: thedailyhoosier
(Main Photo: JAKE CRANDALL / COURIER & PRESS)