No longer a Diamond in the rough

Illinois guard Diamond Taylor is enjoying the process of evolving into a high-major guard. The 6-foot-3, 160-pound class of 2009 prospect from St. Joseph's in Westchester, Ill., enjoyed an impressive spring and summer and now has a handful of offers he is considering.
Taylor shined with the Illinois Wolves 16 and under team and shined in the backcourt. He said the time spent prior to traveling across the country has helped him in the process.
"(Illinois Wolves coach Mike) Mullins told me that I'd get out what I put in. So all of my time in practice on my own paid off. I think I played pretty well in the summer time," Taylor said. "I went into the gym and tried to always shoot 500 jump shots so my shot was falling this summer. I tried to get quicker laterally. Coach Mullins always told me that quickness is the key and always keep your body in control. All of those things paid off.
"Me being able to work on both ends of the floor and working on all aspects of the game. Before, it was completely all offensive scoring. Then I started to get my teammates involved and started to play defense. By the end of the summer, I was usually guarding the other team's best player. It wasn't like that before. I started to rebound, pass, play defense and tried to get away from just scoring."
Adding parts to his game has helped Taylor add schools to his recruiting list almost at a daily clip.
"It blew up out of nowhere," Taylor said. "I started getting calls from college coaches. I went from being unknown and not having any schools at all to having people call all the time and I started getting letters and messages and started visiting schools. It's pretty big."
Taylor said he has offers from Marquette, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois, Southern Illinois and Bradley. Taylor said Illinois and Wake Forest are "on the verge" of offering as well. Indiana, Iowa, Purdue have been involved heavily as well.
Taylor said he has unofficially visited Wisconsin, Illinois, Southern Illinois and visited Marquette on Monday.
"I'll probably set something up with Indiana pretty soon so I can get down there and see their campus," Taylor said.
A handful of schools stand out on top for the moment, he said.
"Wisconsin has always been on me pretty hard and they've always made a strong impression," Taylor said. "Marquette, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana have all made an impression. I like all of these guys.
"Academic wise, they have to be pretty good. And their coaching system has to be good. I want to see how they work with their guards and how they let them make decisions with the ball…Probably about this time next year, I should have my mind made up."