Former Benilde star Taylor working for a shot at NBA

  • Article by: KENT YOUNGBLOOD , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 13, 2012 - 8:20 AM

The former Benilde-St. Margaret's and Wisconsin star is showing off his skills to teams, including the Timberwolves.

On most days, if a former Mr. Minnesota Basketball worked out for the Timberwolves, bringing a four-year college résumé that included two All-Big Ten selections, he would have been The Show.

But Tuesday, after the Wolves had held a predraft workout, Jordan Taylor had to share the attention. Because Royce White, another former Mr. Basketball, was also in town.

But that's OK. Any amount of attention is fine with Taylor.

"All you can ask for, a guy in my position, is to have a chance to show what I can do," he said.

Of the players working out Tuesday, only White, the former Hopkins star who played last season at Iowa State, is considered to have first-round potential. The others, including Taylor, hope to be taken in the second round but also are preparing to go the free-agent route.

And that means having your best day every day you're at these moving feasts known as predraft workouts.

Taylor, a high school standout at Benilde-St. Margaret's, has a lot going for him. He was the point guard on a Wisconsin team that made NCAA tournament appearances in each of his four seasons there. He was all-conference twice, a second-team All-America as a junior, a leader on a successful Big Ten program. But still, there are questions he is spending his June trying to answer.

"There is no question he's a high-character kid," said David Kahn, Wolves president of basketball operations. "He has a lot of appealing attributes. He's able to drive the ball; he showed in college that he could finish around the rim. But, because he's only about 6-1, which is what I think he measured, I think his shot will need to become more dependable."

Statistically, Taylor had his best season as a junior, when he shot 43.3 percent overall, 42.9 percent from three-point range while averaging 18.1 points per game. As a senior, those numbers dropped to 40.2, 36.9 and 14.8.

Taylor knows this, but said he brings attributes that can't be found in stats.

"I don't know if it's a skill, but just the ability to go out and compete with anybody," Taylor said. "It's just trying to come out and compete and show the things I can do, which is knock down shots and make plays."

Taylor got a boost when he was a late addition to the NBA's scouting combine last week. He hopes that, plus his extensive tour of workouts, will convince a team to give him a shot.

Taylor also has to show that he is capable of playing a more up-tempo game after having been in the Badgers' deliberate attack. On the other hand, he has a pedigree of success and the maturity that comes with a complete college career.

Ultimately, though, all that matters is what coaches and scouts see.

"You just go out and play," he said, "and you hope it works out."

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  • Jordan Taylor, G, Wisconsin, worked out with Timberwolves on Tuesday.

  • TIMBERWOLVES PREDRAFT WORKOUS

    NBA draft: June 28, Newark, N.J. • Wolves picks: No. 18 overall (first round), No. 58 (second round)

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