Tyshawn Taylor’s draft stock has surprisingly very little to do with his on-court talent. Instead, in a recent candid interview before a workout with the Indiana Pacers, the former Kansas point guard mentioned that it’s questions surrounding his behavior and attitude off the court that has made his draft stock so volatile to accurately assess.
"I think a lot of people have questions not about my ability on the court, but some stuff off the court," said Taylor. "I think this is a clean slate, you know? They definitely have questions that they’re going to ask me, and I’ll be honest about it and just go from there. I think when you’re an 18- or 19-year-old kid in college, you’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to mess up sometimes. You gotta grow from it. I’m 22 now. I’ve grown from my mistakes, so I think this is definitely a fresh start for me that I’m excited to start."
The issues facing Taylor stem from a couple of incidents in his Kansas career he’d like to forget. First there was the fight that led to a dislocated finger in 2009. Then there was the suspension for team rules violations that head coach Bill Self did not close any details about. Either way, it shows why Taylor might be ready for a clean slate.
Taylor has been labeled as a late first round pick in some mock drafts to going undrafted in others. That latter scenario is not very likely since everyone agrees he’s going to be a positive contributor at the NBA level. He even says that no one is concerned about his impact on the game, and he’s ready to take on any doubts as to the rest of his persona.
"I think nobody is questioning my ability or if I’m talented enough to play in the league. Everybody that I’ve spoken to told me that I’m good enough to play in this league, but it’s just about some stuff they have questions about that I don’t have a problem answering. I’ve been open about it and doing interviews like this. Like I said, it’s just a new start for me."
Taylor and Thomas Robinson took the Jayhawks all the way to the NCAA Championship game this March against the Kentucky Wildcats in a season where most predicted KU’s run atop the Big 12 would finally end. It’s the maturity and leadership that’s developed in the last year or more that should help ease the concerns of any team wondering who they have in Taylor.
"To be in this situation is humbling and a blessing," he said. "I’m just going to take full advantage of it. Whatever team drafts me, I think it’s going to be a team that is willing to look past those questions and see my abilities. I’m going to fit good on the team because I’m going to work hard. I’m a winner. I think that’s proven."