Player Breakdown: Steve Taylor

(Photo by A. Martina Ibanez-Baldor)

(Photo by A. Martina Ibanez-Baldor)

What he did well: Steve Taylor came to Marquette as the highest rated recruit from the Illinois class of 2012, so expectations were quite high. Although his stats may not stand out in any particular way, you’d have to say expectations were met. The logjam of quality frontcourt players limited his minutes, with coach Buzz Williams even admitting he had to keep reminding himself to play Steve more, but in the limited stretches he did see, Taylor was extremely impressive on the offensive end of the court.

Taylor’s offensive rebounding wasn’t just good, or even great, it was elite. Had he played enough possessions, his 15.5 O-rebounding percentage would have been the 15th best in the country, topping Davante Gardner’s own prodigious rate by three full percentage points. Logic says his numbers will fall a bit with more minutes, but he has an uncanny ability to track down loose balls on the offensive end. Pair that with his frame and a bit of strength, and the regression may not be significant whatsoever.

Now, Taylor wasn’t just grabbing boards and kicking out, he was very aggressive with going straight back up and finishing plays on his own. The chart below is a little dated (from late February) so the stats aren’t up to date, but the general theme remains: good things happen when Taylor ends up with offensive rebounds. (I highly recommend reading Mark’s full write-up.)

Apart from rebounding, Taylor proved to be an efficient scorer, not forcing the issue much. He took 46 percent of is shots at the rim, according to, making an eye-popping 75 percent. The freshman finished the year shooting 53 percent overall and very rarely turned it over, amassing the second best turnover rate on the team at 15.5.

(While this won’t show up in any box scores, he also is a great guy as Mark detailed in a feature for CSN Chicago.)


What he could have done better: As good as Taylor’s offense may be, his defense was quite bad, part of the reason he saw limited playing time. The rotations that are imperative in Buzz’ scheme just didn’t come naturally for the freshman. There were too many times where he was left guarding an invisible opponent on the baseline or in the paint. Athletically, he’s fast and strong, he just needs a better understanding of what his role is on the defensive end and how to execute it.

Offensively, he didn’t get to the line enough (27 times) for as much work as he was doing on the interior and was bad when he did get calls to go his way, hitting only 59.3 percent of his freebies. His stroke looks fine, though, it’s just a matter of confidence and repetition. He needs Gardner to give him a pointer or two in the fine art of drawing and making fouls shots.

Tangentially, Taylor was too one dimensional when he had the ball down low. He was either going to shoot or shoot again. His paltry 5.1 assist rate was second worst on the team, only behind Chris Otule. He never recorded more than one assist in a game, and finished the season with seven. Granted, the shooters at the perimeter weren’t great, but seven assists in 35 appearances is low even if you have a team full of Dennis Rodmans taking shots.

Best performance: Steve’s magical minute and a half against Rutgers deserves a mention, as he scored seven straight points to keep Marquette close in the first half, but it was not enough to grab the top honor.

That goes to his performance against Savannah State in December. Taylor recorded a career high in minutes (19) and points (10), falling only two rebounds shy of his career high eight. The competition wasn’t particularly great, but this was the first inclination that the Simeon star had some serious untapped potential.

Worst performance: It’s always difficult to choose the proper criteria for this  one when there were so many games Taylor didn’t feature in. Of the ones he did see decent time, however, Louisville was by far his worst performance.

Steve saw 15 minutes of action, but wasn’t able to produce much of value. He scored three points on 1-3 shooting, and only went 1-3 from the charity stripe. More surprisingly, he only grabbed one rebound the entire game and committed a season high two turnovers. It’s not like the rest of the MU players covered themselves in glory against the future national champs, but it was a poor performance from Steve nonetheless.

2013-’14 outlook: With Juan Anderson gone, Steve Taylor will most likely be given big time minutes right away. Incoming JUCO transfer Jameel McKay looks to be his most likely challenger for playing time, assuming Jamil Wilson sees most of his time at the 3. While McKay is also known for his rebounding prowess, the adjustment period he will have to go through will give Steve the advantage early on in the season.

Depending on how big Buzz wants to go, Taylor may see a little bit of time at the 3 when the Oxtule line is out there. He played well in (very) short spurts there and has a decent stroke from long range, but only hit three of his 12 attempts. Do expect him to create his shot more often, though. When Taylor figures it out and the game starts slowing down for him, he will be a sight to see. A breakout year may still be two years away, but expect next Taylor to continue his upward trajectory next season.


Categories: 2012-13 Review, Analysis, Home, Offseason, Player Review


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  1. Steve Taylor hopes to be back to practice by Aug. 25 | Paint Touches - August 2, 2013

    […] our player breakdown in […]

  2. Quadriceps issue leads to slower recovery than Steve Taylor Jr. hoped for | CollegeBasketballTalk - August 4, 2013

    […] The Simeon HS product didn’t see a great amount of playing time as a freshman, averaging just 8.6 minutes per game (3.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg), but one area in which he took full advantage of his minutes was on the offensive glass. […]

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