When John Taylor was announced as the National Player of the Year on Thursday, it probably surprised some people outside Michigan (and Danville, Illinois). Taylor was not selected by the NJCAA as its player of the week even one time during the season, confounding many basketball fans in Flint.
How could a player of this caliber go unrecognized for a full season? We’ll never know.
None of that matters, however, now that Taylor is officially the fourth National Player of the Year award winner at Mott.
Earning Division II Player of the Year honors was Mott sophomore guard John Taylor. The Chicago-native led the Bears to a 35-1 national championship season in 2011-12. Defeating Community College of Rhode Island 70-60 in the title game, the Bears received a game-high 23 points and six assists from Taylor. On the season, Taylor ranked seventh in the nation in scoring with 24.9 points per game and led Mott with 4.1 assists per game. For his efforts, Taylor was named Tournament MVP and was a first team All-America selection.
Taylor joins former Bears Jay Youngblood, Kevin Tiggs and Jeremie Simmons in the NPOY club at Mott, all players coached by Steve Schmidt who, not surprisingly, won his fourth National Coach of the Year award.
Taylor’s short career at Mott has left so many wanting more. He’s about as creative (and unconventional) a basketball player as I’ve seen. He’s the best ballhandler I’ve ever seen at the JUCO level and, in a certain way, he presents the same conundrum as Tiggs did for some recruiters a few years back. Where do you play him at the next level?
The best answer goes something like this: Just play him; he’s really good.
In many cases “stars” aren’t fun to coach or to play with. Taylor certainly wasn’t one of these and Mott fans have another national title as evidence of the fact.