- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
Early on, the University of Alabama basketball staff made local big man Jimmie Taylor a priority for the 2013 class. UA head coach Anthony Grant recruited him right away, and his efforts paid off on Friday when Taylor committed to the Crimson Tide.
“I wanted to get my recruitment over with,” Taylor said shortly after making his intentions known. “With Alabama, I enjoy the coaching staff. I like them a lot. Their style of play fits me and it’s close to home, so I figured I could benefit from going to Alabama.”
Taylor, the cousin of former Tide star Erwin Dudley, named a top three of Alabama, Louisville and Vanderbilt on Wednesday before ultimately choosing UA. He once had Georgetown and Kentucky among his top schools.
At 6-foot-10, 210 pounds, Taylor gives Alabama a much-needed front-court presence for the future. He also has the athleticism to get up and down the floor which fits perfect with the Tide’s quick-tempo style of play.
“I can run the floor really well,” Taylor said. “Coach Grant showed me a couple clips from their style of play with the bigs running the floor. If I run the floor I can get a lot of easy baskets. Also, I like their defensive pressure and how they get to the ball to the post with all of their sets.”
Taylor joins 6-foot-8 forward Shannon Hale, who has already committed to Alabama for 2013. With the staff expected to hold at least one, if not two, scholarships this year, the 2013 recruiting class has a chance to be a special group.
“I think we’re going up,” Taylor said. “We’re building a championship contender. I just want to win; SEC championship first, then get to the tournament.”
My take: Jimmie Taylor was a must-get for Alabama. You can’t let a player in your own backyard (Greensboro, Ala.) slip away. Similar to Trevor Lacey last year, it shows that Grant can keep local talent in state, regardless of what national powerhouses he’s going up against. On the court, Taylor brings size and versatility. As a freshman, he has the chance to make an impact on the defensive end as a shot blocker. His offensive game is constantly evolving, as he continues to work on it everyday. He’s developed a number of good post moves inside and has the ability to step out and knock down a jump shot as well. I believe the sky is the limit for Taylor. If he works hard, he has the chance to be a very special player.
6dEdward Aschoff and Alex Scarborough
6dAlex Scarborough and Greg Ostendorf