Penn State basketball knew coming into 2013-14 that its two best players would be D.J. Newbill and Tim Frazier. It didn't know who would be its third best player, probably hoping that players would do a "third best player by committee" thing.
However, the "who's #3?" question was squashed pretty quickly, as Brandon Taylor stepped up and became the team's third scorer, one of its best rebounds, and its -- for lack of a better word -- most fearless three point shooter. TO THE NUMBERS!
The conference slate for Brandon Taylor was pretty weird: he played less, was less efficient, and scored less, but he was a bigger part of the offense. His shooting from two plummeted, but his shooting from downtown skyrocketed. Other than that, and his TO rate going up a bit, his numbers were pretty similar.
But for real, did anyone else not think he canned nearly 44 percent of his threes during Big Ten play? Really, good for Brandon Taylor. If he can carry that form into next year, he's going to be a formidable foe for any team to guard. Especially if he continues developing a low post game. Then watch out.
Update: I looked at the wrong numbers for his three point percentage during conference play. The real one's in there now. My bad, y'all.
I am the world's biggest Brandon Taylor fan, outside of his immediate family. But there were plenty of times where B-Titty frustrated the ever loving shit out of me, and every single time, it was when he would hoist up a three after missing like four in a row. I suppose that isn't horrible, because it shows he's not afraid to take shots during a cold spell, but shot selection is something he needs to work on.
Taylor also needs to get a little more consistent as a rebounder/low post scorer. Of course, he isn't necessarily needed in those roles, since that's more of Jordan Dickerson and Ross Travis's games, but it would still be nice. His worst habit is that he still gets in foul trouble from time to time, but he is getting better at avoiding that.
@ Ohio State - 37 minutes, 19 points, 7-for-13 shooting, 4-for-7 three point shooting, 4 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 assists
Yes, the game that made Ohio State officially change its basketball arena's name from the Schottenstein Center to Newbill Arena was also B-Titty's best game of the year. Yes, Newbill's "I have gigantic balls" shot over Aaron Craft to win the game was awesome, as was D.J.'s 25 points and 8 boards. However, that overshadowed a monster game from Taylor. His 11 first half points were huge, and kept Penn State in the game for the most part. With Frazier struggling from the field, someone needed to step up, and Taylor did in a huge way. Seriously. Go back and watch. It was awesome.
Next year will be huge for Taylor. He needs to make the leap to a 13-15 ppg scorer, and he needs to hit more then 35% of his threes for Penn State to have a solid season. While Newbill will be the team's best player, Taylor may be its most important, because he's going to be the team's primary shooter and top scorer when Newbill needs a break. He won't need to worry about playing down low with Dickerson, Travis, and Julian Moore handling things in the post, so he'll have all the freedom he wants out on the perimeter.
Final Grade: B
Taylor made a solid step forward this year and turned into a really solid basketball player. We know exactly what he is: a three point shooter who is a nice rebounder and shot blocker with a constantly developing low post game. He still needs to work on his shot selection, and he needs to improve as a defender, but the future is bring for B-Titty.