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December 23, 2010

Taylor's precision key for UW

MADISON - Sometimes certain trends or themes become so commonplace it almost goes unnoticed.

Sometimes having a consistently competitive team can make people and fans forget about how bad the program once was. Just look at the student section at basketball games for further evidence.

Sometimes having one and done players makes one forget what it's like to develop a talent through four years of practice and fundamentals, and by the end, see them grow into a very formidable player.

Sometimes having a point guard that doesn't turn the ball over on a regular basis, instead opting for the more efficient assist in favor of the potential of a flashy maneuver becomes so consistent that it takes a second to step back and understand how well the said player is playing.

Enter Jordan Taylor, one of, if not the best, point guard in the Big Ten.

"Now that you mention it, yeah, it's quite impressive," sophomore forward Mike Bruesewitz said of Taylor. "I've played with Jordan now for two years, almost three since I worked out with him quite a bit when I was home, but I guess it's something you can almost take for granted.

"If you think about it that's quite impressive for him to be able to do that. What he does for our team is tremendous."

Taylor does a little bit of everything. He scores the basketball (15.1 points per game), rebounds (4 rpg), dishes (4.6 apg) and takes care of the ball (1.4 tpg). He's shooting 44 percent from the field, including a 39.5 percent tally from beyond the arc.

And oh yeah, he's one of the best on the team with an 86.7 percent success rate from the charity stripe.

"He gets the guys shots," Bruesewitz said. "He gets himself shots and he runs the team. What he does is definitely something we value a lot. If you show the minutes and turnovers and what he's doing, it's pretty amazing."

Most impressive when purveying Taylor's laundry lists of stats is his assist-to-turnover ratio. His 4.6 assist-to-turnovers paces Big Ten guards and among the leaders nationally. Considering he plays nearly 34 minutes a game, tops on the team, the fact that he doesn't turn the ball over more than he does is borderline unbelievable.

"I'm not impressed by it," senior Jon Leuer said. "I've seen it all throughout his career. Even from growing up playing with him. I've just kind of come to expect that out of him. It's definitely an amazing accomplishment with what he's been able to do, particularly with his assist-to-turnover ratio and the way he can make people better.

"Hopefully more people will notice that because he's one of the best in the country."

As the Badgers wrap up the non-conference portion of the schedule this evening against Coppin State, Taylor has another opportunity to run the show as the quarterback of the hardwood.

Off to the best start of his career, Taylor seems to be helping his teammates (and himself) find a groove entering conference play. Keaton Nankivil is stroking the ball from distance and emerging as a legitimate scoring threat. Jon Leuer continues to rack up 20-point games one after another and guys like Mike Bruesewitz and Ryan Evans bear the fruit of his labor by knocking down open shots.

"He makes his teammates better," Leuer said. "At the same time he's able to do a lot for himself. He's able to score and do that along with making his teammates better. That really makes him a dual threat point guard.

"Those guys are tough to stop."

Sometimes people are exposed to impressive talent so much that it becomes commonplace. But sometimes that impressive talent outweighs the nonchalance of witnessing something great each and every night without even recognizing it.

Sometimes Jordan Taylor is a man amongst boys on the hardwood.

Taylor was unavailable for comment this week as he had an exam during scheduled interview times.


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