February 11, 2008

Tech's still in it for Taylor

For Jeff Taylor Jr., life has to feel just a little bit like a fairy tale. After growing up in Sweden, Taylor Jr. moved back to America roughly a year and a half ago to play at his father's alma mater, Hobbs High School. His father was nothing short of a star at Hobbs and later at Texas Tech, and Jeff Jr. is well on his way to following in his father's footsteps as a college star.

Much like his father did over 20 years ago, Taylor is tearing up the New Mexico high school basketball circuit, and has his Hobbs Eagles in contention for yet another state title.

In fact, much of what Taylor is doing on the floor is just flat out unfair. Standing at 6-foot-6, 185-pounds, the do-it-all forward has an incredible blend of strength, skill, and raw athleticism, and is using his talent to dominate the competition, averaging over 30 points and 15 rebounds per game.

Just how good is Taylor playing right now? His coach, Russ Gilmore, who coached several college stars like Ronald Ross, has only one thing to say about Taylor.

"I haven't ever coached anyone like him," Gilmore said on Friday night. "He's special, I'm telling you. I've just never coached anyone like him."

Taylor's standout play has Hobbs sitting at a robust 21-3, with only one of those losses, Friday night's setback at the hands of undefeated district foe Clovis, came with the three-star prospect in uniform.

So just what is on Taylor's mind with regards to recruiting?

"I'm really actually trying to focus on the season right now," said Taylor. "I've only got one official visit left, but I have no idea where I'm going to go on that one, so I'm just kind of going through my options."

The standout wing has already visited Texas, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt, and UNLV officially and Texas Tech un-officially, and says that several schools are in the hunt for his fifth and final visit.

"As far as that fifth visit goes, there a bunch of schools I'm looking at, but I'm narrowing it down as much as I can," he said. "It's pretty much down to Kentucky, Arizona, Texas A&M, and some schools like that. I don't know though."

Taylor maintained, as he has throughout the process, that he will not use an official visit on his father's alma mater due to its close proximity to Hobbs.

"I'm still not going to use an official on Tech or any other school that's close," he said. "I've been to Tech several times and I really like it, plus my coaches always tell they can take me over there any time, so that's why I'm going to use my last visit on a school I just can't drive to."

So is Texas Tech still in the hunt for the talented wing's services?

"Oh, yes sir," he answered. "Absolutely."

Sources in Hobbs indicate that Texas Tech assistant coach Bubba Jennings is supposed to be in Hobbs to see Taylor on Monday.

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