Nebraska brought Taylor in as a junior college transfer to add depth to a shallow backcourt, but the injury to Anton Gill and lack of development by some of the younger wings led to Taylor becoming a starter and key rotation player by midway through the season.
Taylor was something of a utility wing, playing all three perimeter positions, starting for stretches and coming off the bench for others, pitching in as a scorer or ball-handler or defender based on what the team needs at that moment.
Taylor saw 20 or more minutes just twice (against Mary and Louisiana Tech) in his first 11 games as a Husker, but played 30 minutes in the team’s final non-conference game against Southern (following a loss to Gardner-Webb where Taylor got his first start but only played 11 minutes) and Taylor started every game the rest of the way and never played less than 20 minutes again.
Taylor showed some signs offensively as a slasher and mid-ranger jump-shooter off the bounce, but overall he was very limited. Taylor cracked double figures just six times with a season-high of 15 points in the team’s loss to Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament.
He was just 6-of-25 from 3-point distanced on the season, and many of his misses weren’t even close. This comes after he shot 14-of-41 from 3 as a freshman at Samford and 10-of-55 as a sophomore at Odessa Junior College. Regardless of how good Dan Dakich thinks his jump shot looks, it simply doesn’t go in and that is a problem for the Nebraska offense.
Taylor was advertised as a combo-guard who could be another ball-handler to supplement Glynn Watson Jr. and Tai Webster, but he didn’t end up being all that much of a playmaker with 37 assists to 37 turnovers. He had one four-assist game and two more with three dimes, but he had 11 games with none compared to just none games without a turnover.
At 6-foot-5 and 206 pounds, Taylor did add some much-needed defensive flexibility on the wing. He took turns with Tai Webster checking the opponent’s best perimeter player, freeing up Webster at times to focus more on offense. He crashed the glass as well, grabbing four or more boards in 10 different games.
Best Performance: In a last-second 67-66 loss against Ohio State on Jan. 18, Taylor scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting, pulled down a career-high eight rebounds, dished out two assists and grabbed three steals in 33 minutes.
If Taylor is playing close to 30 minutes per game next year like he was at times this season, the Huskers are going to struggle to make progress. There is certainly a role on this team for a player like Taylor, but he simply doesn’t produce enough and isn’t enough of an offensive threat to be playing starter’s minutes.
The Huskers are losing Tai Webster, but they are adding freshman Nana Akenten and transfer James Palmer Jr. on the wing, and the coaches are also going hard after junior college and high school combo-guards to fill one of the team’s open scholarships. Anton Gill will return from his injury and hopefully make progress. And of course, Watson is set to be back at the point as the team’s leading returning scorer.
Minutes will likely be harder to come by for Taylor next season, but he’ll still have an important role and perhaps one that fits him better. If his role doesn’t change, that will mean other players struggled to steal minutes from him, and in that scenario I have a hard time seeing Nebraska having more success.
Jacob is in his third year with Hail Varsity covering Husker athletics. He has also written extensively for SB Nation’s Bright Side of the Sun and The Creightonian. His love of basketball can best be described as an obsession and if you need to find him, he’s probably in a gym somewhere watching, coaching or playing hoops.