is a 25 year old 191cm guard from Kokomo Indiana that will play his second professional season with s.Oliver Wurzburg. Last season as a rookie he played with Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Holland-Eredivisie) playing 13 FIBA Europe Cup games being the tournaments second best scorer averaging 18.6ppg, 4.5rpg, Assists-2 (8.1apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 81.7%; and played 17 Dutch DBL games: Score-5 (16.7ppg), 5.8rpg, Assists-1 (7.4apg), Steals-3 (1.9spg), FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 84.9%. he began his basketball career at Kokomo High School and then played his freshman year at Northern Kentucky University (NCAA) playing 30 games averaging 13.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 18.5%, FT: 76.3%. he then played at Ball State University (NCAA) form 2016-2019 playing a total of 98 games. As a sophomore he played 34 games averaging 15.5ppg, 3.9rpg, 4.9apg, 1.3spg, FGP: 50.2%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 76.3%. In his junior season he played 31 games averaging 15.4ppg, 3.4rpg, 4.3apg, FGP: 48.8%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 66.7%. In his senior year he played 33 games averaging 16.7ppg, 4.0rpg, 4.3apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 32.1%, FT: 80.0%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball earlier in the summer.
Tayler thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how have you been holding up the last months during COVID-19?
I am currently in Carmel, Indiana. I have been doing good, just working out and staying in the gym during this crazy time.
What kind of an experience has the whole COVID-19 time been for you? How challenging was it in general staying fit the last months and how did you stay fit?
It was very weird, I have never experienced anything like this before, it was very challenging at first to find a gym to work out in. I was lucky enough and found a gym I could use during the last couple months.
The whole COVID-19 crisis has been very trying times for the whole world. How do you believe did the last months make you stronger as a person and you had to deal with so many new changes in life?
I believe that people will be more safe with their health, and I feel that will help the world in the long run. For me personally I feel that it has taught me to accept the changes and just go with it.
Congrats on signing with German easyCredit BBL team s.Oliver Wurzburg. Before we get to the interview I have to ask you about your home state Indiana. I checked online and Kokomo where your from is almost 3.5 hours and 169 miles away from Larry Bird country in French Lick. As a Indiana native, is it mandatory for a basketball lover like you to visit that town at least once in your lifetime?
I would say so if you really want to see were Larry the Legend grew up. I have visited multiple times, but yeah if you love basketball Indiana is a great place for you.
After a great rookie season in Holland, you now attempt to make the next step in Germany in a top 5 league in Europe. What do you know in general about the country Germany and it’s basketball and did you ever explore Germany when you were living in Holland last season?
I have heard great things about Germany as a country, and its basketball. I’m very excited to be able to prove myself in a great league. I didn’t really get to travel to Germany much last year, but can’t wait to live there this year.
You will be playing for one of the best German coaches in Denis Wucherer. What impressed you about him and what was the deciding factor that had you choose Wurzburg as your new basketball home?
I was impressed by him being honest with me and letting me know what he needs from me coming in. I feel like Coach and I are a good fit, and I am very excited to learn from him and the rest of the coaching staff. The deciding factor me was the opportunity that this team brings me, and also seeing the city and the great fans was a huge plus for me.
How excited are you to play in the easyCredit BBL and do you feel some pressure coming in and taking over for the great guard trio of Wells, Hulls and Bowlin who had good history in Wurzburg?
I am very excited to be able to play in such a good league. I don’t feel any pressure, coming in after them. All three of them had a great career with Wurzburg, and that’s great. I’m excited to be able to show the fans, organization want I can do and win games I know there are big shoes to feel but I’m ready for that.
Let’s talk a bit about your game. You’re a scoring point guard that fills the stat sheet with ease. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fill the description?
Thats ‘a very tough one, I feel like I am very unique with my game. I feel like Fred Van Fleet that plays for the Raptors. He can do everything on the court and picks and choses when he needs to score or get people involved.
What other strengths does your game incorporate and what are you working on most on your game so that you will have an easier adjustment period coming from the first division in Holland to the German BBL?
I feel like my strengths is that I can do anything on the court, something that I have been working on tirelessly is my 3 point shot. I know that the work is paying off and it’s going to be a great season.
How much pride do you take on the defensive end? You are also an impact player on the defensive end. What do you feel is your biggest strength when being on the defensive end?
I take a lot of pride in it because sometimes when you are struggling on offense you can get yourself going by playing hard defense. My biggest strength I think would be my anticipation and being at the right place.
You never averaged more than 4,9apg, but made a huge leap as a rookie averaging 8,1apg. How do you feel did your playmaking grow as a rookie and what did you learn about yourself as a point guard last season?
I learned a lot, towards the end of my rookie season I really felt that I was fully understanding what I need to be doing to get everyone involved while taking my shots when I can.
You had some games last season where you flirted with triple doubles. How vital is it in general for having that nonstop aggressiveness on the court at all times?
I wish I would have gotten a few, but I play the game as hard as I can every time I step on the court. I feel like that is one of my best things as a player is playing hard, and being able to do anything on the court.
You played an impressive rookie season with Zorg and Zekerheid Leiden (Holland-Eredivisie) playing 13 FIBA Europe Cup 13 games: Score-2 (18.6ppg), 4.5rpg, Assists-2 (8.1apg), 1.5spg, FGP: 57.1%, 3PT: 28.2%, FT: 81.7%; and 17 Dutch DBL:games: Score-5 (16.7ppg), 5.8rpg, Assists-1 (7.4apg), Steals-3 (1.9spg), FGP: 51.5%, 3PT: 30.2%, FT: 84.9%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Holland where you knew that you were very far away from home?
The first day stepping off that plane. I knew that I was a long way from home, but knew what my mission was for my rookie season and that was to prove myself. I felt like I did a good job of that.
What kind of experience was it being teammates with Dutch national player Worthy De Jong? Was he a guy that showed you the ropes early on and off the court?
It was great he taught me a lot of things and took me under his wing. I’m lucky that I had guys like him, Drago and Sergio my first year at Leiden to help me get accustomed to European basketball. He also was nice to be around off the court showing me his country.
You began your basketball career at Northern Kentucky University (NCAA) and had a fine freshman campaign playing 30 games averaging 13.1ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 48.4%, 3PT: 18.5%, FT: 76.3%. Even if you had a very very productive career at Ball State (NCAA) does the thought ever cross your mind how your career may have gone had you stayed at Northern Kentucky for 4 years?
Yes it does sometimes, simply because I know if my coach didn’t get fired at NKU then I would have been their all 4 years and my life could be different.
How do you feel did you profit most from your one season at Northern Kentucky that helped you go your way at Ball State (NCAA) better?
I felt that going to NKU was a great first school for me because they let me do my thing and threw me out there from day 1 and I never looked back.
ou had a stellar career at Ball State (NCAA) finishing as the first Cardinal ever with at least 1,500 points and 400 assists, and finishing his Ball State career ninth in school history in points (1,558) and third in assists (447). What will always be your fondest memories from your 3 years there?
My best memories were spent with my teammates, coaches and fans. I embraced being a Cardinal and had a very great time there. I loved being me in Muncie
You have played so many games in your young career, but do back to back tough loses against N Illinois and Kent State in your junior year to end the season where you had 2 good games still ring a bell inside you from time to time?
Yes it does actually because I felt we were strong that year, and that kind of slowed down our momentum.
You had many great personal games in wins and losses at Ball State, but was your 24 points in the exciting 80-77 win over Notre Dame one of your most memorable games?
Yes it was because of hitting the game winning shot against an in state opponent that was ranked nationally.
How did head coach James Whitford groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
He taught he how to act and work like a professional athlete every day during our time together. I am very grateful for that.
Who won a one on one in practice you or KJ Walton?
I won almost everytime, he was too scared to play me after that.
Who was the toughest player that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
The toughest player I battled during my college career would be Trae Young. He is having a great career in the NBA.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
My best 5 teammates is tough I would say. Drago Pasalic, Franko, House Trey Moses, Worthy De Jong, Kj Walton
Please construct your personal NBA Mount Rushmore of 4 heads past or present.
No order, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Shaq
What is your personal opinion of who is the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan or Lebron James and why isn’t Kobe Bryant mentioned more in this discussion?
I believe that it is Michael Jordan. I am a huge LeBron fan though and believe that it is close, also I think Kobe doesn’t get into the argument because him and MJ were so similar.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I don’t honestly remember lol, but last tv show I watched was the best show of all time The Office.
Thanks Tayler for the chat.