Power forward Shawn Taggart raised his stock as much as any player on the circuit with his play throughout the summer. Taggart, 6-foot-8, 215-pounds, from Richmond, Va., will prep another year at Mt. Zion Academy, where he will play with super teammates Brandon Rush and Tracy Smith. As far as college is concerned, Taggart has a top three that he plans to visit in September.
“Next month I will visit Iowa State, Memphis, and UCLA,” said Taggart, who is the No. 48 ranked player in the class of 2005. “The other two visits are up for grabs. I am also looking at Florida State and St. John’s. You can also throw in Clemson as a sixth school. All of these schools have offered, and right now Iowa State, Memphis, and UCLA are my three favorites.”
Both Iowa State and UCLA are attractive to Taggart because he could play an integral part in their rebuilding process.
“I like that Iowa State is rebuilding,” he said. “I could get a whole lot of minutes there.
“It is the same for UCLA. They are rebuilding the foundation of their program with new coaches and everything. I would have a chance to really do my thing there.”
Taggart, who has his eyes set on the NBA, feels very good about developing as a player at Memphis.
“I like Coach Calipari because he has been an NBA coach and knows what it takes to get there,” he said.
Taggart strongly considered attending the IMG Academy this year to further develop his game, but in the end, he felt that he could best develop his game with one more season at Mt. Zion.
“I looked hard at IMG, but I wanted to play with the best competition,” he said. “At Mt. Zion I have teammates like Tracy Smith and Brandon Rush to play with. IMG just did not have as good players.”
Mt. Zion finished 30-1 last season with Taggart averaging 10 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. Taggart would like to improve those numbers, but more importantly, he wants to see his team put together an undefeated season.
Although Taggart is still working on making a qualifying ACT score and choosing a school, he is also focused on getting his game ready for the ultimate goal of playing in the NBA.
“When I am a first round pick, I will go,” he said. “I am not stressing it, but if my name is out there after this season as a first round pick, that would be great. If not, college would be good for me to meet people and get mentally and physically stronger.
“In college I will play the three/four. In the NBA I will need to be a three. All I really need is 25 more pounds. I have legit small forward moves on the wing, but I do need to improve my perimeter defense.”
Taggart, who is a long, aggressive player and unafraid to mix it up inside, has the athleticism and skill base to be a terrific small forward. He certainly, however, needs to refine his skills with the ball and improve his range before he is ready to be a small forward at the next level. Already a very good power forward, he will be even better at that position as he gets stronger. Bottom line, Taggart is a very good combo forward prospect.