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October 13, 2010

Taylor better prepared for junior season

In a short period of time, much has changed for Tyshawn Taylor. Last season, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard from Hoboken, N.J., was involved in an altercation with members of the football team, was replaced in the starting lineup for a period of time, told a group of reporters that he was unsure of his role and ultimately found himself in Coach Bill Self's doghouse following an incident on Facebook.com.

However, surrounded by a group of reporters during KU's media day on Tuesday, it became obvious early on that Taylor is a changed man.

"I didn't get in trouble," said Taylor with a smile when asked what he's done differently to prepare for this season. "I didn't really have a lot of time to prepare myself for last season. I wasn't with my team at all last summer, I was traveling a lot and I came back right when school was about to start.

"I wasn't here with my teammates, I wasn't working out with my teammates or any of that," he added. "I think this summer was a little bit different. I was hanging out with my teammates, I was going to classes with my teammates and I was around my teammates all of the time. I think that bond off the court definitely helps us on the court."

Last season, Taylor averaged 7.2 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.3 steals per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 23.1 minutes per game, but connected on just 43.8 percent of his field goals and 33.9 percent of his shots from behind the arc.

At one point, Taylor found himself coming off the bench, but ultimately earned a spot back in the starting rotation.

Taylor, way back on February 23, 2009, scored a career high 26 points against Oklahoma. In 34 minutes of action, he connected on 8-of-13 field goals, 3-of-5 shots from behind the arc and 7-of-11 field goals. Had it not been for Taylor's performance against the Sooners, which came during his freshman campaign, the Jayhawks wouldn't have escaped Norman, Okla., with a victory.

Taylor, since scoring 26 points against Oklahoma, has failed to score 20 (or more) points in a game. Following his performance in Norman, Taylor scored 15 points against Missouri, 11 against Texas Tech, 11 against Texas and 12 against Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament.

In the NCAA Tournament, Taylor scored eight points against North Dakota State, three points against Dayton and eight points against Michigan State. As a junior, he scored no more than 18 points (Tennessee Tech), and finished with double-digits just 10 times.

Following KU's second round loss to Northern Iowa in the NCAA Tournament, Taylor, who scored just two points and was 0-of-6 from the field against the Panthers, immediately began to prepare for this season.

"I was working on my game a lot more this year," said Taylor. "Last summer, I was playing games, and wasn't really working on my game. I was just playing, but wasn't working on my game. I wasn't lifting weights or anything like that, so that's something I've done a lot this year.

"I was able to get a little bit stronger this year and just work on some stuff," he added.

According to Taylor, being able to spend time with his teammates, both on and off the court, was a priceless experience. In fact, one trip in particular still stands out in his mind.

"Five of us - me, Marcus Morris, Markieff Morris, Josh Selby and Thomas Robinson - we went to the Adidas Nations thing and it was real good. We were together the whole time. That was a real good experience for the five of us - just being together as a group.

"We were together the whole time at the Adidas Nations event," he added. "We were on different teams, but we were always together as a group."


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