With the 2012-13 season now in the books, we take a moment to look back at the performance that each member of YOUR Marquette Golden Eagles turned in this year. While we're at it, we'll also take a look back at our player previews and see how our preseason prognostications stack up with how things actually played out. We'll run through the roster in order of total minutes played (lowest to highest). The series continues today with, in Coach Buzz's words, the best freshman Coach Buzz has signed at Marquette, Steve Taylor Jr.
Steve Taylor Jr.
#25 / Forward / Marquette Golden Eagles
|2012 - Steve Taylor Jr.||35||8.6||1.2||2.3||53.1||0.1||0.3||25.0||0.5||0.8||59.3||1.0||1.1||2.1||0.2||0.4||0.4||0.0||0.5||3.0|
Minimum Expectations: Now, all that said: even if he's a very, very good freshman, Steve Taylor is still a freshman, and one who's going to be playing behind Jamil Wilson and, in all likelihood, Juan Anderson. That being the case, it's probably the safest bet to set the minimum expectations barometer at a low, low level. And with the history of freshmen on a Buzz Williams team being fazed out of the game plan as the conference season rolls around, we'll set the floor at averages of 5 minutes per game, 2 points, 1 rebound.
In My Wildest Dreams: If we're getting totally nutty, Taylor becomes Jamil Wilson Lite (or Juan Anderson Ultra, depending on your point of view) by the end of the 2012-'13 campaign: a stretch four (BASKETBALL TERM!) who can fill it up from the outside but isn't afraid to mix it up inside, either. If that's going to happen, of course, the training staff's going to have its work cut out for it, since there's little chance that Taylor's 18-year-old frame is ready for the rigors of Big East basketball.
In My Worst Nightmare: I don't mean to parrot what Andy said yesterday in the Worst Nightmare scenario for Jamal Ferguson, but I have the same worry about injury for Steve Taylor. If the height and weight vitals on GoMarquette.com can be trusted, Taylor -- at 230 pounds -- is already as thick as Jamil Wilson, which is a good starting point ... but even if those numbers are accurate, Taylor (and Ferguson) are about to go through the meat-grinder, and I hope his body holds up. Because if he breaks down early and has to miss practice time, you can kiss any hopes of Taylor making a meaningful contribution this season goodbye.
In the final analysis, Steve Taylor turned in a Baby Bear freshman campaign: wasn't anywhere near our wildest dreams, but was comfortably ahead of our minimum expectations and nowhere near the disaster scenario, and showing just enough flashes that, more than once, you found yourself thinking: oh sweet Jesus, we might be on to something here. And you don't have to take my word for it; just ask Coach Buzz, who could barely contain himself when talking about Taylor's Tremendous Upside Potential after the frosh put up 6 points, 3 rebounds, and pilfered 2 steals in just 15 minutes against South Florida in late January: "hang on, baby," coach told Steve "The Homer" True in his post-game interview. "He's gonna be good. Real good."
With the mass exodus over the last week or so, you'd certainly think there's going to be ample opportunity for Taylor to make good on the promise he showed this season. Provided he doesn't bail for the NBA, too, Jamil Wilson is the only other returning player at the 3/4 position, and, as with any first-year player, there's going to be a steep learning curve for JUCO All-American Jameel McKay. I'd wager a two-liter that Taylor kicks in the door and becomes a consistent 20-minute per game player next season.
Best game: He might've had games with prettier stat lines, but for my money, Taylor's best game came on March 5 at the RAC, when Marquette kept its regular-season conference championship hopes alive with a 60-54 nailbiter over the Rutgers. With Marquette doing absolutely nothing on offense in the first half, Taylor came off the bench to give MU a shot in the arm, tallying 7 first-half points (including a three-pointer and a nifty give-and-go layup with Derrick Wilson) to keep things from getting totally out of control.
Season Grade (1 - Worst nightmare to 10 - Wildest Dreams): Taylor's freshman season ranks as a comfortable 7: freshmen usually don't contribute much in Buzz Williams' program, but Taylor did more than most and managed to earn quite a bit of run in Marquette's final Big East regular season games (18 minutes against Rutgers, 12 against St. John's). Instead of hitting the wall and cratering, he found something he did well -- hitting the offensive glass, where his 15.5% o-reb rate would've ranked amongst the nation's best if he'd played more minutes -- and carved out a niche for himself on a veteran team.