Tyshawn Taylor would have been thrilled to play professionally for the Portland TrailBlazers, who selected him June 28 with the 41st pick in the National Basketball Association draft. But that same day, Portland traded the Hoboken native to the Brooklyn Nets—the team that until this season was known as the New Jersey Nets.
Still, it made sense for Taylor, who led the University of Kansas to the national collegiate championship game in March, to move back to Hoboken. The 22-year-old has rented an apartment just a few blocks from where he grew up. (Added benefit: The Nets continue to use their long-time training site in East Rutherford.)
Taylor, a high school star with the powerhouse St. Anthony’s team in Jersey City, coached by Bob Hurley, likes being back among his friends and relatives after four years in Lawrence, Kansas—as long as he can remain focused on basketball.
“It’s a little bit like a gift and a curse,” he says. “Once the season starts, it’ll be a lot better, because we’ll be on the road a lot.”
The Nets, who open their season November 1 against the New York Knicks, feel almost like an expansion team to Taylor, with a new arena (Barclays Center), new colors (black and white) and new uniforms designed by Jay-Z, a part-owner.
Taylor enters his first NBA season with modest expectations. He plans to “be a sponge”—soaking up as much as he can from the team’s veterans. “It kind of feels like I’m starting over again,” he says.
The 6-foot-3 guard admits being disappointed, but only a little, that he will not play for the Nets in New Jersey. But there’s an upside: “I think we gained some fans just because we moved.”Click here to leave a comment