There was always a plan in place for Jeff Taylor, a 6-foot-7 185-pound small forward. The Swedish native would come to the United States, get an education and experience American basketball. Now he is getting that opportunity at Hobbs (N.M.) High School and taking full advantage of his time away from home.
Over the last couple of years, Taylor and his family have planned a moved to New Mexico in order to get an American education and showcase his talents with hopes of moving on to the Division I level.
His father, also Jeff Taylor, has roots in Hobbs and played basketball at Texas Tech before a stint in the NBA and a long pro career in Sweden. Taylor's uncle, Vince, is an assistant at Hobbs and is Jeff, Jr.'s legal guardian while in the United States. Vince also played basketball at Texas Tech.
Now at Hobbs, under the direction of head coach Russ Gilmore, the younger Taylor is blending right in on and off the court.
"He's playing really well so far," Gilmore said. "He's starting to fit in and he's adjusting to our style of play. He's talented and has a lot of potential. He can put the ball on the floor and has good footwork and plays big and can play inside. He can do a lot of things inside and out."
Versatility is the name of the game for Taylor. In three games of action, Taylor is averaging 25 points and 15 rebounds a game for Hobbs (2-1).
Word didn't take long to get out to the colleges. The 6-foot-7 wing has already drawn a solid crowd to date.
Utah, Texas Tech, Nebraska, New Mexico State, New Mexico and Texas A&M have already been out to see him play, says Gilmore. Arizona is also showing some interest. Taylor's cousin, Chris Dunn, played at Hobbs before signing with Arizona.
"They are going to recruit him but he's still staying wide open," Gilmore said. "He's had a lot of phone calls and people are checking him out but Texas Tech is not necessarily a done deal. His dad and uncle played there but Jeff wants to experience what the recruiting process is all about. He's staying open."
Taylor is not in a rush. Three games into his American playing experience, he is showing that he'll be a guy to watch in the West and Gillmore said Taylor's best days await him.
"He'll only get better. I know that much," Gilmore said. "He's only going to get better and bigger and stronger."