The team's leader in scoring and assists from last season shared his thoughts during a media availability on Sunday, saying that his relationship with new head coach Shaka Smart played a role:
Isaiah Taylor: "Coach Smart has been a great guy so far. I've talked to him a lot these last couple weeks." pic.twitter.com/1SXMESSGMX— Texas Basketball (@TexasMBB) April 26, 2015
Texas G Isaiah Taylor said he's already had dinner with Shaka Smart and several long talks before making decision to stay.— Brian Davis (@BDavisAAS) April 26, 2015
The rather bleak NBA prospects for Taylor also played a role because no matter what people around him were telling him or what Smart told him, his draft evaluation was not good enough to take the risk of leaving school:
Isaiah Taylor said he got back a late first, early second round evaluation from the NBA.— Chris Hummer (@chris_hummer) April 26, 2015
However, the case of former Longhorn Cory Joseph gave evidence that even going late in the first round can work out for a player if the right situation comes along. And, according to former Statesman writer Mark Rosner, at least one NBA playoff team believes that Taylor could play for them right now.
Where Joseph has been able to to blend in as the ultimate glue guy for the San Antonio Spurs, Taylor would have to make his living on penetration and setting up three-point shooters on a team with a number of long-range threats and the need for a back-up point guard with elite quickness.
But Taylor also came back because he feels like he has unfinished business in Austin after two quick exits from the NCAA Tournament:
Isaiah Taylor: "My goal is to get to an Elite Eight, a Final Four. I want to be on that stage and know what it feels like." #HookEm— Texas Basketball (@TexasMBB) April 26, 2015
A tough Big 12 Conference that will once again feature Player of the Year Buddy Hield after his decision to return to the Oklahoma Sooners won't make landing a high seed particularly easy. Still, assuming that the Longhorns can land top-100 small forward Tevin Mack, keeping Taylor truly assures Texas of the potential to completely maximize the 2015-16 team's upside.