A common question the City/Suburban Hoops Report has heard from college coaches over the past three or four months as they prepare to set out and evaluate talent this offseason has been this: Who will be this year’s Zion Griffin?
First, examples of Griffin’s recruiting exploding so late are not the norm. Sure, the stock of players can rise in an instant and it does happen. But, if you remember, Griffin wasn’t even a high-major commodity after two April live evaluation periods last spring.
Heck, a consensus of mid-majors weren’t even clamoring for him. While the City/Suburban Hoops Report was puzzled by the lack of mid-major buzz surrounding the Hinsdale South star last spring, Griffin headed into July with just a few mid-major offers.
It wasn’t until the July period, one month before the start of his senior year, when all the mid-majors started salivating –– knowing in the back of their minds they were too late and had no shot –– and high-major programs became intrigued. The word spread like wildfire and Griffin backed it up with his play.
The late-emerging, highly-athletic Griffin ended up choosing Iowa State over offers from Illinois, Kansas, Pitt and shutting down other high-major interest.
Is there another Griffin-like story in this Class of 2019? The answer is likely no. While there are always stories of players raising their stock, when you look at the Griffin time frame, recruiting scenario and rapid ascension, it’s typically the exception rather than the norm.
But you have to have candidates, nonetheless. And one player who is very much under-recruited at this point in time is Glenbard West’s Evan Taylor.
The 6-5 lefty wing was on display this past weekend at the Team Rose event at Whitney Young and continues to impress. While he’s among the City/Suburban Hoops Report’s top 10 prospects in what is a rather weak Class of 2019, he still has just a handful of scholarship offers at this point and remains a bit under-appreciated.
The level of recruitment is probably correct at the current time. He’s been projected as a mid-major prospect by the City/Suburban Hoops Report for the past 15 months as you wait to see if there is another level he can reach. But the list, however, should be a little more lengthy than it is.
The lack of attention doesn’t seem to phase Taylor.
“The people who are in my corner believe in me, so I need to go play my game and continue to work on my game,” says Taylor. “If I go out and play well and play the way I am capable of playing this spring and summer, that will all take care of itself.”
UAB was the first to offer way back in 2016. It went dormant until locals like Illinois State, Southern Illinois, UIC and Loyola offered in the past year. Rider has offered and several high-academic schools, including Dartmouth, Holy Cross and Brown, are now involved.
Like Griffin, who played with the Hoopers Basketball Club on the circuit, Taylor doesn’t play with a high-profile team or on one of the major shoe-sponsored travel circuits. He plays with the Illinois Heat.
“I’ve been told enough that if you have talent, people will find you,” says Taylor. “Zion Griffin is a perfect example of that. That was just another thing that showed me I didn’t need to change teams, even though I did get calls from some of the other teams out there.”
Taylor is long, smooth and is still just a budding prospect with upside who has always had the look of a late-developing player. The assertiveness and consistency is slowly coming along as he matures, both physically and as a player.
Taylor looks the part with his body, which is going to continue to naturally fill out, and length and wingspan. He’s become more creative and comfortable with the ball while his perimeter jumper has progressed.
This past season as a junior, Taylor averaged 17.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists while playing multiple positions on the floor.
“I feel like I’ve become more assertive,” says Taylor. “I used to sit back and wait and see, but as I get older I am trying to assert my dominance more. I’ve worked on my ball handling, and I think that and my passing have improved.”
There will be a lot of eyes on Taylor over the next two weekends, who says the three Missouri Valley Conference schools –– Loyola, Illinois State and Southern Illinois –– have been the most active with him on the recruiting front.Tags: Glenbard West