Sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor of the Texas Longhorns has played in just three games so far this season. Widely regarded as an elite guard at the college level, Taylor has been plagued by a fractured left wrist, leaving the Longhorns without arguably their best playmaker. The lack of depth at the guard position has been apparent for Texas, but they still are heading into conference play with an 11-2 record.
Without Taylor, Texas has struggled to create on the offensive end. The big men of Texas, led by freshman phenom Myles Turner, have held the team together, but Taylor’s return will spark Texas and help them move forward to challenge Kansas for the Big 12 Title. Texas’ struggles at guard were most obvious when they traveled to Lexington to take on No. 1 Kentucky. Without Taylor on the floor, the frontcourt was forced to make more plays than they are normally asked to, which caused them to be in foul trouble. Had Taylor been available, the result could have been very different.
With Taylor out, Texas went 8-2, including losses to No. 1 Kentucky and Stanford. However, neither loss is a major blemish on the Longhorns tournament resume. Javan Felix had entered the starting lineup with Taylor out, but will return to the bench with Taylor’s return. However, the experience Felix gained through his reps in the starting lineup will inevitably be beneficial for him as the season progresses.
Last season, as a freshman, Taylor averaged 12.7 points and four assists per game. With a full season of experience under his belt and big time playmakers like Turner and center Cameron Ridley surrounding him, Taylor will look to improve his points and assists numbers to help boost Texas towards a Big 12 Conference Title as well as hopefully a late run into March and maybe even April.
*Section Photo credit to Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Howard Smith, USA Today Sports.