Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Taylor draws inspiration from Avery
By Jared Zwerling
While many of the Brooklyn Nets went their separate ways during the offseaon, Tyshawn Taylor was able to stay connected to the team through the Orlando summer league.
That's where Taylor had a chance to bond with his head coach, Avery Johnson. He also got a taste of playing under Johnson, who helped run a few practices. During their time together, the rookie realized his head coach was actually the kind of point guard he wants to be one day.
"I'm just looking forward to him coaching me," Taylor said on Tuesday at a launch event for the new NBA Baller Beats video game. "I know that it's going to be a great help to me because he was in the league 16 years and he had to do it the hard way. He was cut, traded and things like that, but he stuck everywhere he went because he knew how to play the game. He was a tough guard who defended and made the right plays. I think that's who I gotta be."
Playing for Johnson isn't the only reason Taylor knows he'd "rather be here than any place else." He pointed to two other positive factors -- one on the court and another off it.
First, he's fortunate to be surrounded by the Nets' handful of veteran players, especially at his position with point guards Deron Williams and C.J. Watson. Taylor's been around both of them since Monday, when many members of the team came together at the Nets' practice facility in East Rutherford, N.J., for informal workouts.
"I feel like I'm going to be able to learn a lot faster than some other rookies," he said. "It's going to be great for me to have a veteran team, a coach who played my position. These are all things that are beneficial."
Off the court, the plus for Taylor is simple: he's back home. On Thursday, he'll be surprising local students in his hometown of Hoboken, N.J., with various back-to-school items -- and copies of NBA Baller Beats. Then later this month, he's stopping by his former high school, St. Anthony (Jersey City), for a football game to sign autographs.
"I love it, man," he said. "Being home, the fans embrace me. I'm excited and my family's excited. I'm ready to get it started."
Overall, Taylor said he doesn't feel any different returning to his hometown being a pro basketball player.
"I was playing [NBA Baller Beats] with a guy for like 30 minutes," he said. "And then this lady was like, 'Who wants an autograph?' And he goes, 'I didn't know you were an NBA player. I just thought you were a regular kid.' That's how I feel -- like a regular kid in the NBA. I'm just so happy to be there, so I'm just going to take full advantage of it."
Speaking of home, Taylor spent most of his summer at St. Anthony, working out in his old gym and "shooting a million jumpshots."
"I gotta make jumpshots and stay in shape," he said. "It's a long season. I gotta learn how to take care of my body. The vets talk to me about that a lot."
Taylor said he's planning to speak to Johnson later this week about expectations heading into training camp, which starts in early October. For the rook, that means doing "whatever I have to do."
"I'm just so happy to be there," he said. "I'm going to do everything with a smile on my face, because there are so many people that are in my position that's not really in my position. There are so many guys that played this game and don't make it to where I'm at, so I'm grateful, I'm blessed and I'm going to take full advantage of it."
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