15 months ago Kameron Taylor (198-G/F-1994, college: Seton Hill) was coming off a very good season with easyCredit BBL team Hamburg Towers as his climb up the basketball ladder had been the classical Cinderella tale. Ever since playing at Seton Hill (NCAA2), the basketball journey of Kameron Taylor has been a successful one, but one where he was never given any presents and always had to pay his dues. After a solid but not great rookie season with Ehingen (Pro A), he took a step back and played in the German Pro B with the Dragons Rhondorf where he absolutely destroyed the competition averaging (23.4ppg), 7.9rpg, Assists-4 (5.6apg), Steals-2 (2.6spg), FGP: 59.7%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 76.4%. But that incredible mind boggling season didn’t reward him right away but instead he had to pay dues once again playing in a lesser league in Hungary with Pecsi VSK-Veolia (Hungary-A Division) averaging (19.2ppg, 8.1rpg, 3.9apg, Steals-1 (2.2spg), FGP: 57.7%, 3PT: 40.7%, FT: 74.8%. He had already left a lasting impression in Germany and now all the hard work and taming his ego finally paid dividends as he returned back and became a solid BBL player first with Brose Baskets Bamberg (Germany-BBL) averaging 10.2ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 57.0%, 3PT: 40.0%, FT: 82.8%; and a year later with the Hamburg Towers (Germany-BBL) averaged 13.9ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.4apg, Steals-5 (1.6spg), FGP: 52.2%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 85.4%. He had gotten rewarded the last two summers getting signed in Germany, but what would happen only a month later was absolutely incredible on the one hand, but also not necessarily expected. On June 30th he was signed by Euroleague club Maccabi Tel Aviv. After 5 seasons of grinding as a professional he had finally made the big time. But his 21-22 season was more than just experiencing the breathtaking Israeli culture and Euroleague grind, but he would change teams and play in France with SIG Strasburg and cap of the season with his NBA Summer League debut with the Phoenix Suns. This was a season that he will never forget. It didn’t take him long to come up with a title for a book if he had written one about last season. ‘The Title would be ‘Blessings in Disguise’ or ‘Everything happens for a reason’, smiled Kameron Taylor. He saw so much last season and basketball wise probably aged 10 years, but it was something that he wouldn’t have traded in for anything else. ‘Mentally I was great. The most difficult thing was always staying ready with inconsistent minutes. I learned that every situation isn’t for everyone. Personally as a player in this business I know what I’m capable of and to never lose confidence is the most important thing’, stressed Kameron Taylor. His journey continues as this season he will be teammates with Spanish legend Marc Gasol.
But let us remind back to the start of the 2021-2022 season. So there he was in July of 2021 a member of Israel’s greatest team Maccabi Tel Aviv and his thoughts must of just been going gaga inspecting the roster and seeing all these incredible players who would be his new teammates. Seeing the names like Derrick Williams, James Nunnally, Jake Cohen or Scottie Wilbekin all guys he had seen play on TV years before must of brought out the kid in him like when you bump into Lebron James and are just speechless. Making the jump to a Euroleague club is never easy as the competition is fierce as that 12 man roster suddenly is more like a 20 man roster and playing time becomes a fierce commodity. The Maryland native did the best that he could, but didn’t see much playing time in the Israeli Winner league playing only 7 games, but at least was inserted into 19 Euroleague games. It is never simple to admit when things don’t go right, but he understood that he didn’t make the most out of his opportunity. ‘I don’t think having a lesser role affected me. I think it was more of trying to find my role and being great in that role’, stressed Kameron Taylor.
Just being able to soak up so much daily from the incredible talent around him was massive. One of his teammates was Derrick Williams a player he had already seen play in the NBA when he had been in high school. It is only obvious he must have been in awe of him in some way. ‘I was in awe of his bounce lol. D Will not afraid to try and dunk on anyone. It was exciting playing with him this season’, remembered Kameron Taylor. Also being able to take in the suaveness of a Scottie Wilbekin and how graceful he is with scoring the ball is something that he surely gobbled up and will try to showcase in Spain this year. ‘Scottie is a great guy. One of the best if not the best scorer in the league. His humbleness and competitiveness are my favorite things about him’, stated Kameron Taylor. Wilbekin is one of so many talented guards overseas that could play in the NBA, but like so many chose the lifestyle in Europe and the greatness status something not guaranteed at the NBA level. ‘I think making it to the NBA is a bit more about what teams are actively looking for in players. As an overseas guy when you finally make a name for yourself and increase your value, you are comfortable with the money you make then you accept if the NBA comes it comes. Either way you are getting paid for doing something you love’, warned Kameron Taylor. He definitely had his moments with Maccabi Tel Aviv as he scored 11 points against Alba Berlin in a Euroleague game. In The Winner League he averaged 5.9ppg, 4.1rpg, 1.0apg, 2FGP: 80.0%, 3FGP: 15.4%, FT: 50.0%: and in the Euroleague 2.7ppg, 1.7rpg, If he would have been able to play more minutes, his stats would have looked a lot different. But he is blessed and thankful for the opportunity that Maccabi Tel Aviv gave him and it isn’t only about how his game grew that really moved him. ‘Just understanding the game a little more helped me grow. You learn how teams scheme against other teams. You learn how coaches coach and through understanding those things finding the opportunities to disrupt the plan becomes simple. I played against great players/coaches in the euro league but what I truly value Is the people and the great relationships’, expressed Kameron Taylor.
The ex s.Oliver Wurzburg guard who’s toughest match ups in the Euroleague were against Cory Higgins and Mike James then departed Tel Aviv and continued his Cinderella career in France with SIG Strasburg. Here his minutes rose dramatically as did his role and input. It felt like back when he was a top player in the EasyCredit BBL with Bamberg and Hamburg. He played 20 France Pro A games averaging 11.9ppg, 4.6rpg, 3.3apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 48.6%, 3PT: 33.3%, FT: 72.3%; and in the Basketball Champions League averaged 12.0ppg, 4.7rpg, 3.3apg, 2.0spg, FGP: 50.8%, 3PT: 25.0%, FT: 90.0%. ‘I appreciated the SIG organization and the guys on that team fully accepted me on the first day and truly thankful and blessed to move to such a great team with great guys’, commented Kameron Taylor. He scored in double figures in 13 Pro A games including a 28 points explosion against Roanne. He didn’t have as big time names in Strasburg as he did in Tel Aviv, but still many very talented teammates and one that was up his alley with Deandre Lansdowne. He and Taylor have been a very rare breed in Germany in that they were some of the very few that were able to jump from the Pro B to the easyCredit BBL. ‘Myself, Dre, and a lot of other guys on the team all pretty much are cut from the same cloth. When I say that I mean we all had to work our way up overseas. We didn’t go to big universities and didn’t start in the best leagues. So it was easy to relate to each other’, stressed Kameron Taylor.
The versatile player’s season that sees Steph Curry as being in the top 2 best point guards of all-time now wasn’t over in France, but continued in the summer as he was invited to play NBA Summer League in Las Vegas with the Phoenix Suns. Mostly when you check NBA Summer League rosters you see them filled with very young talent. Mostly rookies and guys that have 1-2 years of experience. Rarely do you see really old guys fill a roster stop. But some teams go against the norm like the Phoenix Suns. Last season Alba Euroleague player Jalen Smith played and other players like David Kramer in the past, and this season Karim Jallow, and Brancou Badio. Not to mention a guy like Ishmail Wainwright was discovered by the Suns who is also living the basketball Cinderelaa story, a player that went from the German Pro A to the NBA in only a few years. ‘I was very proud of Ish. I didn’t really know him personally before summer league but hearing about his route made me happy, because I know how hard it is to make it going the route he took’, said Kameron Taylor. The Phoenix Suns showed again after displaying their love for guys from overseas last year, that they like to give guys playing in Europe a look. ‘That’s what it would look like from the outside looking in but I’m just so grateful I had that opportunity. It’s crazy just looking back on my career and how far I’ve come. I could say I was extremely proud of myself’, said Kameron Taylor. Playing on a big stage had been nothing new to him from having played Euroleague, so how was the feeling playing on an even bigger stage in the NBA? ‘Basketball is basketball. When you start playing everything kind of disappears and it’s just like playing in any gym. But before the game and after the game seeing all the coaches, GMs, and superstars in the crowd was definitely different for me’, remembered Kameron Taylor. Even if his stats weren’t eyepopping he wasn’t there to put up explosive numbers. In the NBA Summer League. It has been no secret that it is a stage for players wanting to reach the NBA, so you will see guys scoring a lot and playing for their stats. Despite averaging only 5.8ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.6apg, FGP: 50.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 57.1%, he basically played his game and was versatile something he has proved everywhere he has played. He was content with his role and was rewarded with the correct praise. ‘I think the NBA has enough guys that can score on every team. So what they are looking for are guys who are going to do the little things. So my goal going into summer league was not to score as much as I could but to make sure I did all the little things usually only high level basketball minds would recognize. I really created a great relationship with all the coaches. They told me that I belong and to keep doing what I’m doing. Definitely was nice to hear coming from coaches of the NBA’, stated Kameron Taylor. He had his moments hitting the Indiana Pacers for 11 points.
Let’s fast forward to September 2022 as the jovial guard who has a smile that can light up any room in the world and will never forget his time in Las Vegas as he bumped into legends like Mark Cuban and Steve Nash is in Spain ready for the new challenge with Basquet Girona. ‘The summer has been hectic, starting with just trying to see everyone in the short window that I’m home. Summer league, working out and I just bought my first rental property so just trying to divide my time this summer has been challenging. But as far as basketball I do get a small break’, added Kameron Taylor. Not only off the court must he have had neck pain with turning his head left and right and seeing so many legends, but also on the court in Las Vegas. He battled against some of the top 2022 NBA draft picks, but also against other talented boys that have had to live up to their names their whole life. Imagine playing against Scottie Pippen and Shaq’s sons? That is exactly what happened when he dueled against the Los Angeles Lakers. ‘I definitely felt old but more so because I think I was one of the older guys on the team. I think both those guys will be good’, stressed Kameron Taylor. He may be far away from the NBA in Spain, but bang comes the next bigtime name Marc Gasol. The Spanish legend who had a long NBA career is closing out his career in his home land and will be Taylor’s teammate. It is only obvious that he is super excited about playing in a new country and with Marc Gasol. I wonder how he would have reacted if someone had told him in 2018 in Rhondorf that he would be teammates with Marc Gasol 4 years later. ‘I definitely would have laughed. But I can’t wait to get there and pick his brain, learn from him, and hear about his experiences.’, commented Kameron Taylor. Gasol has been known as being one of the best big man passers in the game and the American will surely soak some new passing skills in. The last year has all been about soaking things up. It won’t be any different for him Spain this season. Kameron Taylor is living the ultimate basketball Cinderella life and just loving it.