Taylor Headed to USA U19 Trials

June 16, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas men’s basketball sophomore Tyshawn Taylor is getting ready to embark on a challenge this week which could give him an opportunity to represent his country. Taylor is traveling to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. to attend the 2009 USA U19 National Team Trials June 16-18. He will compete with 16 other players for one of 12 spots on the team, which will play for the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship in New Zealand July 2-12.

The team will be coached by University of Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon. Taylor knows Dixon through recruiting and friends that attend Pittsburgh.

“He was in our high school gym a lot watching us practice,” Taylor said. “I’ve had a few conversations with him. It gives me more confidence going in knowing the coach.”

“I love it when players from our program get selected to try out for a national team,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “This will be a great experience for Tyshawn to play against some solid competition and learn some valuable lessons from Jamie Dixon and the rest of the staff. Hopefully he will make the team and have the opportunity to represent the country.”

Others vying for the 12 spots include Kemba Walker, Connecticut, Al-Farouq Aminu, Wake Forest, Dominic Cheek, Villanova, Drew Gordon, UCLA, Kenny Boynton, Florida, Darryl Bryant, West Virginia, DeAngelo Casto, Washington State, Seth Curry, Duke, Gordon Hayward, Butler, Darius Miller, Kentucky, Arnett Moultrie, UTEP, Ralph Sampson III, Minnesota, John Shurna, Northwestern, Howard Thompkins, Georgia, Klay Thompson, Washington State and Terrico White, Mississippi.

“I’ve never played on a team with this much competition,” Taylor said. “I’ve played in some local all-star games in Jersey, but the competition has never been this high.

I played against a few of these guys in high school and AAU, so I know some of them pretty well. It’s kind of fun to able to play with them. The list is tough.”

Kansas teammates Travis Releford and Sherron Collins have been in Taylor’s position. Last year, Releford played on the 2008 USA U18 National Team. Collins and then teammate Mario Chalmers were among 30 of the nation’s top collegiate basketball players invited to participate in the USA Basektball Men’s Pan American Games Team Trials in 2007.

“Travis told me the workouts the first week are tough,” Taylor said. “He said I shouldn’t go there thinking it’s going to be easy. I know there will be a lot of other good players out there, so I’m going to have to work.”

Collins also had some advice for Taylor after going through tryouts in 2007. “I told him you have to be aggressive and be a vocal leader,” Collins said. “You need to be out there and set the tone both offensively and defensively. They (the coaches) look for scorers and shooters, but in the point guard position, they are looking for people that can run the team. I told him to limit his turnovers and go out there and play hard.”

Taylor started all but two games last season as a freshman for Kansas and was named to the Big 12 Conference All-Rookie Team. The Jersey City, N.J., product was KU’s third-leading scorer at 9.7 ppg, and ranked second among Big 12 freshmen in scoring, assists (3.0 spg) and steals (1.1 spg). Kansas went 27-8 on the season and won its fifth straight, ninth Big 12 and 52nd overall conference title.