I'm sad to relay news from a reliable source that Isaiah Taylor will forgo his remaining two years of college eligibility and enter the 2015 NBA Draft. There's no official word on Taylor's decision yet, but I'm told Taylor's mind is made up. I'd love for this to be wrong, but I'm reporting this for a reason. He thinks he's ready. Prominent evaluators in Houston think he's ready. And that's that.
Taylor seemingly responded on Monday afternoon:
I don't where this information is coming from , but I have not declared for anything. False information— Isaiah Taylor (@Zay_Ctmd11) April 6, 2015
Notice that Taylor doesn't actually respond to the report -- he says that he hasn't declared for anything, which is true. The report here isn't that he has declared for the draft, but that he will declare for the draft. In that sense, his denial is similar to the proclamations made by recruits like Ryan Newsome and PJ Locke when news broke that they would sign with the Longhorns. Both denied that the reports, then ended up doing so.
So it seems that unless things change, the Longhorns' sophomore point guard will turn pro after a promising sophomore season was derailed by a wrist injury that sidelined him for the team's final 10 nonconference games. Taylor would return for Big 12 play, but didn't look like himself until late February, a period during which the team as a whole struggled to get in sync. Taylor finished his sophomore season having played 24 games, across which he averaged 31.5 minutes and led the team in scoring average (13.1 points per game), assists (4.6), steals (1.0), and free throw shooting (84% on 101 attempts). Taylor was named Third Team All Big 12.
Taylor energized Longhorns fans with a promising freshman campaign during which he claimed All-Big 12 Honorable Mention accolades and was selected to the Big 12 All-Newcomer Team after leading the team in minutes played (30.1 mpg) and assists (4.0 apg), while ranking second on the squad in scoring (12.7 ppg) and steals (37). Taylor sported a 141-to-83 (1.7-to-1) assist-to-turnover and had five 20-point performances as a freshman, and seemed poised to contend for a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team this year.
It wasn't to be, and with today's news, we'll never quite know just how far Isaiah Taylor could have taken this Texas Longhorns team. My source on this news thinks Taylor's making a mistake, and while I generally defer to the NBA experts where the Draft is concerned, I find it difficult to see how Taylor wouldn't benefit from a year back. He's got a ton of potential, but also a lot he needs to prove.
Taylor was one of my favorite Longhorns of all time -- a kid I believed in before anyone else and who I genuinely thought was going to be the one to lead Texas on another run of glory.
I'll root for him to make it as a pro, and I wouldn't dare bet against the kid, but I worry he's made a mistake. But hey, Isaiah Taylor has never been anything but fearless. There's not much he doesn't believe he can't do. And for good reason.
Good luck, Zeke. Thanks for two memorable years. Hook 'em