Player Spotlight: Brandon Taylor
“I was a little piggy back then.”
It is rare to hear a player talk about himself in that way, but that is exactly how Brandon Taylor described the way he looked a few years ago when he arrived at Penn State. Since then, Taylor has changed significantly from who he used to be, and he understands this.
“I was just the big guy. You just throw me the ball down low. I could stretch it into a three sometimes, but to see my game develop over the years is crazy,” said Taylor.
Born on August 1, 1994 in Willingboro, New Jersey, the senior leader grew up in a family with a love for the game. His cousin played for N.C. State on the women’s team and his uncle for Temple. In high school, Taylor ranked 14th all-time on his school’s scoring list and helped them to win the NJSIAA South Jersey Non-Public B championship in 2012.
Coming from Trenton Catholic Academy however, Taylor weighed roughly 260 pounds the day he arrived on campus. Once he arrived though, he decided it was time to cut some weight and dropped about 30 pounds prior to his freshman season. This proved to be beneficial to his game, and as a freshman was second on the team in threes with 32, fifth in points per game with 5.3 and fifth in rebounding at 3.3 per game.
As Taylor began to adapt better to his body, sophomore year saw an improvement across the board. Playing in all 34 games, he led the team in threes and had the best percentage at the charity stripe at 88%. There was also a massive improvement in his defense as Taylor was second on the team in blocks with 36. Junior year saw much of the same statistically, but by season’s end, Taylor ranked 10th on Penn State’s career blocks list at 74 and also set a PSU record with five blocks in a tournament game.
More important for this season is not the statistics for the Jersey native, but rather the leadership he will provide on both sides of the court. Being one of four seniors on this team, Taylor provides a voice that can talk about how a changing role may not always be a bad thing. His willingness to lose the weight freshman year has led to much of his success, and thus has put him in the position he is in now to be successful on this team. Taylor is the voice on the defensive side of the ball to make sure everyone is in the position they need to be in order to succeed and stop different opponents. And it is known that the senior will do what he has to in order to help this team win, as shown by his both his defensive numbers and his pick and pop ability when shooting from distance. Three years into the lifestyle change and the change in his play, Taylor still cannot believe it.
“I would have never thought I would be down to 230 and I’ve tried to change my game a little bit more; just become a more consistent player on the floor,” said Taylor.
With the leadership of Taylor and the guidance he can provide to a young Nittany Lions team, look for many of these young players to follow in his footsteps and work toward not only being better players on the court, but off the court as well. Stay tuned to PSU ComRadio for all of your Penn State Men’s Basketball coverage throughout the season.
David Arroyo is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.