Missing from the busy summer AAU circuit was Jeff Taylor of Hobbs (N.M.) High School. The 6-foot-7, 185-pound was home in Europe fine tuning his game. Now he's visiting a number of high-level programs since his return to the United States.
Taylor, a three-star prospect, left for Sweden shortly after his junior year was complete and spent the summer with his family and on the hardwood. Taylor averaged 21.3 points and nine rebounds a game and ranked second in the Division B level of the U18 European Championship this summer for his Swedish national team.
Now that he's back in Hobbs, his high school coach Russ Gilmore said he has noticed a change in the Swedish import.
"Jeff is stronger and a little bigger. He's more powerful. He's one of those slashers but he's got tremendous explosion," Gilmore said. "Now he's even better because he's stronger than he was a year ago and another year of maturity in him."
Taylor averaged 28 points and 16 rebounds a game last year for Hobbs and is hoping to have an equally impressive senior campaign. But first, he's hoping to find a college home in the fall.
Taylor has officially visited Gonzaga and UNLV arleady and will officially visit Texas this weekend, according to Gilmore.
"He told me liked both of the trips already," Gilmore said. "I told him that he needs to take all of the visits because every time he has come back, he's said he's liked them. That's the whole idea behind it. Everybody puts their best foot forward."
Because of the proximity, Gilmore said Taylor is hoping to take a couple of unofficial visits to Texas Tech and New Mexico. Taylor has been to Texas Tech several times. His father and uncle both played for the Red Raiders.
Taylor's father, Jeff, Sr., is being inducted into Texas Tech's Hall of Fame in October and the family will be on hand for the festivities.
Nebraska could also receive a visit, Gilmore said.
"Right now, those are the ones that are in here the hardest on him," the coach said. "I think he's going to look for a place where he can be developed and reach his maximum potential as a player. I think the key is finding a player that can utilize his skills as a player."