Ricky Taylor is a 25 year old 195cm guard from Brownsville, Tennessee that will be starting his second professional season for Newcastle Eagles Esh Group (United Kingdom-BBL). Last season as a rookie he played for the Finke Baskets Paderborn (Germany-ProA) playing 30 games: 11.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 84.9%. He started his basketball career in 2008 for Chattanooga (NCAA) where he played until 2012 playing a total of 114 NCAA games and as a senior he played 31 games: 11.9ppg, 3.8rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 41.8%, 3PT: 36.9%, FT: 78.2%. He spoke to German Hoops about his rookie season in Germany and his next challenge in England.
Thanks for talking to German Hoops again. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
It’s my pleasure to speak with eurobasket.com again and at this current moment, I just signed with the Newcastle Eagles in England in the BBL. I’m blessed to be a part of the most successful team in the “HISTORY” of the BBL!
Recently you spent some time in New York. What seems to fascinate you most about the big apple?
New York was definitely mind blowing for me and an experience that I’ll never forget. I had the opportunity to see the World Trade Center. the Statue of Liberty, and Madison Square Garden. I can go all day and list what I’ve seen, but just know that I have seen a lot haha. I’m from a small town, Brownsville, TN where the population is not high so when I arrived in New York, it’s like a different world to see so many people in one place at one time. I love the fast pace that they have. No, I don’t think I would want to live in that environment every day, but it is good to see every once in a while.
You recently finished your rookie season in Paderborn with the Finke Baskets. The club didn´t reach the playoffs. Paderborn was very up and down last season. Was it more the fact that you weren´t able to find a consistent rhythm throughout the season or the vast competition level that the German Pro A possessed last season?
Paderborn has a great program, and they are definitely headed in the right direction. We were inconsistent throughout the season because I believe of our lack of experience. There were about 5 games I know for sure that we should have won for just being more experienced players. The competition in the Pro A is definitely competitive, nonetheless, at the end of the day, everybody is a professional player. It came down to the small things—getting that defensive rebound, executing the play that we were supposed to run, and not taking breaks defensively. It were the small things that we needed to make happen to become more consistent.
You played 30 games averaging 11.7ppg, 3.5rpg, 1.4apg, FGP: 45.5%, 3PT: 38.0%, FT: 84.9%. How content were you with your rookie season in Germany?
I was pleased and disappointed with my rookie season all at the same time. I was pleased because with the minutes that I played, I was productive and efficient. I was really disappointed because I know that I can be more productive. I only had about 3-4 weeks to prepare for a long, professional season. I accepted a coaching job at Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, TN and I was working out here and there but I wasn’t working out to prepare for a pro season. Therefore, I lacked a lot of explosion and power and there were certain angles and moves that I couldn’t make due to my lack of strength and explosion. I now have been working out for 2 1/2 months and this should be a better year!
You shot 38% which was higher than your last three seasons at Chattanooga (NCAA). Is this something that pleased you also going into summer vacation?
Yes! I was definitely satisfied with my shooting percentage from the 3 for my rookie season in Germany. By being a pro, we have shooting practice early in the morning and this definitely helped my shooting. I learned how to be patient and how to take the best shot possible. Hopefully, I can eventually get that percentage up into the 40s soon.
What was your season highlight? You had some strong games like in the wins against Kirchheim and Leverkusen.
My season highlight was against Leverkusen. In that game, I showcased my complete game by making 3 point shots, scoring in the mid-range area, and finishing at the rim. Leverkusen had beat us pretty bad in preseason, so we all had to send a message back to them.
Your ex teammate Will Barnes will play for new German Pro A team Hamburg Towers. You both were rookies last season. How did he make you better and how did you make him better?
Will Barnes is the man! I learned so much from him my rookie season. Watching him play in practice and in games was definitely an ESPN highlight for me every day haha. I love his work ethic and his willingness to work on his game the whole season. I learned from him some effective moves that can increase my overall play. He is so good, but what I really respect about him is that he is humble.
Early in the preseason, we guarded each other a lot during practice so we kind of went at each other back and forth so I hope that I challenged him in practice to make him a better player.
You got to practice with one of Germanys biggest talents from the year 1997 with Niklas Kiel. What impressed you most by his game and where do you see his journey going in the basketball world?
Niklas is going to be an awesome basketball player. I thought he was a grown man when I first saw him play and then I discovered that he was a teenager haha. He will definitely make a whole lot of money one day haha.
How was the summer transfer experience for you? You had solid stats, but opted to go to play in England. Did you have other offers as well?
I had interest from other countries, but I feel that England is the best option for me at this point. I think that it was the best decision that I made so it was a smooth transition for me.
You will lace up your sneakers this season for the Newcastle Eagles Esh Group (United Kingdom-BBL). How thrilled are you to be playing in England?
I have a different mindset this year. I now have experience and I know what to expect from other teams. I now have more confidence and I’ll be a step ahead for my second year. I am acting like a little kid right now by being a part of Newcastle. I just feel that the organization including coaches and players want to WIN!
Did your new head coach Fabulous Flournoy describe how FABULOUS it will be to come and play for Newcastle? What were the main reasons for joining this team?
We talked for almost an hour prior to me signing. I loved everything that he had to say because we think just alike when it comes to basketball. He was on point and honest about everything he and the club had to offer. I can tell that he is a “FABULOUS” coach all by his conversation. I joined this team because of their winning tradition. Newcastle has a phenomenal coach. They are in the BBL, and I sense that they want to win every championship!
Often players will stay in Germany for some seasons before going to another country just because everything works so well in Germany on and off the court. What will you miss most from the country Germany?
I will miss probably the food in Germany haha. I can’t really compare until I complete the season in England.
After seeing the brutal injury to Paul George, does one as a player think a bit more about his moves on the court the day after seeing something horrible like that?
I am definitely in prayer for Paul George. I don’t think players will think too much about their moves because we have been playing almost our whole lives. PG was simply in an unfortunate situation.
How does a summer work out day look like for Ricky Taylor on and off the court in 2014?
In the morning time, I go to UTC and get up a lot of shots. I eat and I may have some basketball clients in between and then I train with my strength and conditioning coach, Ryan Marsh, who is whooping my butt in the weight room. I’m definitely accomplishing goals with him. I am now taking YOGA classes, and once I’m done with YOGA, I go back to the gym and work on game situation moves (moves on the move, floaters, etc).
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The last DVD movie that I saw was…hmmm…it’s been a while. It was probably “Love & Basketball.”
Thanks Ricky for the chat!!!Good luck with Newcastle in the BBL!!.