The saga of former Denison standout T.J. Taylor continued to become even more bizarre on Thursday when news came down that he had left Marquette. It’s the second school he has been at briefly without playing for either.
He also spent some time at Oklahoma.
This is where it could get interesting for UNT.
New UNT head coach Tony Benford recruited Taylor when he was an assistant coach at Marquette. A source close to the situation said that Benford has a good relationship with both Taylor and his family.
Nothing has transpired yet, but there is a chance that Taylor could end up at UNT.
Remember, I said a chance.
At this point, Taylor has a few options.
One would be returning to junior college. After Taylor left Oklahoma, he landed at Paris JC and played for Chuck Taylor, who just so happens to be a former UNT assistant coach under Johnny Jones. Taylor spent one year at Paris and does have the option of playing a second year at the school.
Taylor could enroll at UNT, but if he does, he would need a waiver to play immediately. That’s something he wouldn’t need if he headed to Paris.
UNT is also full in terms of scholarships for next season. Taylor could pay his own way for a year or UNT could try to get another player to pay his way to make room.
What makes the possibility of Taylor ending up at UNT so intriguing is that he seems to be a perfect fit for several reasons.
– First off, the one hole UNT seems to have in what is generally considered to be potentially the best team in school history is a lack of outside shooting. Brandan Walton shot a very respectable 36.7 percent from 3-point range last season, but he was the only guard on UNT’s roster returning who was a consistent shooter from 3-point range. Jacob Holmen shot 33.3 percent, but at 6-8 is more of a mid-range player. UNT didn’t have a player ranked in the top 15 in the Sun Belt in 3-point field goal percentage last season. Tony Mitchell, UNT’s star 6-8 forward shot 43.9 percent, but didn’t have enough attempts to qualify for the Sun Belt leaders. Taylor shot 33 percent from 3-point range at Paris and hit 48 3s in 27 games.
– UNT will have to rebuild after this season. UNT has five seniors, plus Mitchell, who is all but certain to declare for the NBA Draft. There are still some good players who will be back after this season, including Jordan Williams and Chris Jones, but there will be plenty of holes to fill. With Walton leaving after the upcoming season, finding a shooting guard has to be a priority. UNT has three players who have committed to sign in the 2013 class — Tony Nunn, Anthony Norris and Arthur Casimiro. All three are projected to play on UNT’s front line. Taylor would be a perfect fit with what UNT has returning and the signees in place, especially considering Chris Jones and P.J. Hardwick will be back to handle the point guard spot.
– By all accounts, one of the problems Taylor has run into is finding a comfort zone away from home. UNT seems like a good fit from the distance perspective. Denison is pretty much right up the road, but also far enough away that it would give him some distance from his family.
We will have to see what transpires over the next week or so, but there does seem to be at least a possibility that UNT might end up being Taylor’s third Division I school, and you know what they say about the third time. Sometimes, it’s a charm.