May 8, 2012
MADISON, Wis. -- It’s a busy time in Jordan Taylor’s life. The book has closed on his UW playing career, and now he’s navigating the difficult balancing act of finishing the semester in order to graduate, as well as preparing for the 2012 NBA Draft in June.
Just the second player in UW history to earn All-American accolades in two different seasons, Taylor will graduate from the prestigious Wisconsin Business School next weekend. A month after that, he’s hoping to find out that he won’t have to put that degree to use for several years.
Taylor’s first step on the path to professional basketball was signing with agent B.J. Armstrong of the Wasserman Group. The fit seems natural. In addition to being a former Big Ten point guard (Iowa) in his own right, Armstrong spent 11 years playing in the NBA and another five in NBA management. Among Armstrong’s clients are Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose.
The next step was participating in the Portsmouth Invitational in mid-April. Taylor was one of 64 seniors invited to play three games in front of representatives from every NBA team, averaging 11.3 points and 4.7 assists in the tournament.
“I think I did alright,” Taylor said recently on “On Wisconsin” with Brian Posick (full interview here – 26:40 mark). “It was definitely a fun tournament and a new experience. We didn’t shoot the ball great. It’s a lot of fun any time you can play basketball and enjoy yourself.
“We lost a couple heartbreakers. Both of our losses came by one shot. That kind of seems to be the theme going around right now, losing by one shot,” Taylor joked while referring to the Badgers’ one-point Sweet 16 loss to Syracuse.
Now Taylor is splitting time between Madison to finish his classes and Santa Monica, Calif., to train for upcoming NBA Draft workouts. In California, Taylor is working under the guidance of trainer Rob McClanaghan, whose recent clientele includes Rose, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love.
“It’s a process and it’s a grind, so from here on out I’m just trying to stay in the gym and keep getting ready,” Taylor said of prepping for the NBA Draft on June 28. “Keep trying to get better and play it out and hopefully I end up where I want to be.”
Taylor figures to be a fringe second-round draft pick, but is doing everything possible to become the fourth Badger drafted in the last nine years and follow in the recent footsteps of Devin Harris, Alando Tucker and Jon Leuer. TheSportsBank.net predicts Taylor will be selected late in the second round by the Nets.
“All you can do is go out there and try to play hard all the time,” he said. “To get in the NBA you have to have a little luck as well as skill, so that’s the goal, but if not hopefully there will be some other great options.”
Even if Taylor is not selected in the 2012 NBA Draft, that won’t change his feelings of whether or not he belongs in the NBA.
“I know I do, it’s just a matter of if I have the opportunity,” Taylor explained. “I think I’ll get a chance and it’s all about trying to prove my worth and taking advantage of opportunities.
“It’s interesting, in that it’s similar to being at Wisconsin. Everybody here is presented with opportunities at one time or another and it’s just a matter of whether or not you take advantage of the opportunity.”