Taylor declares for NBA Draft, will forego senior season
Fresno Pacific junior guard John Taylor has announced he will forego his senior season and enter the NBA Draft. Taylor, who led the nation in scoring at the NCAA Division II level this season with 27.5 points per game, has signed with an agent and will explore the option of playing overseas as well.
"I enjoyed every moment at Fresno Pacific and was blessed to be able to make a difference in FPU Athletics," said Taylor. "I had a great career at FPU and now I feel like improving my game and taking it to the next level is what's best for me. I want to learn more about the game and I think the professionals before me can help me become one of the best players in basketball. I feel like I've accomplished all I can on the court at the college level. I will eventually come back to graduate, but as of now I'm ready for that next step."
In his one season at FPU Taylor rewrote the record books by setting new single-season marks in points per game (27.5), points scored (825), field goals made (263) and free-throws made (216). He scored more than 40 points on three occasions and set a new FPU and Pacific West Conference record for points in a game when he scored 50 against Roberts Wesleyan on March 13. Taylor was also among conference leaders in assists, steals and three-pointers.
Taylor helped lead the Sunbirds to a 21-9 record and a second-place finish in the 14-team Pacific West Conference, FPU's first season in the league after moving up from the NAIA. The Sunbirds were not eligible for NCAA Division II postseason as they continue to the transition to full membership, but played in the National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) tournament, reaching the Final Four.
"I'm excited for JT as he continues to pursue his dream," said FPU men's basketball head coach Chris Wright. "He had a special season for us and really helped pave the way for our program in our first season of NCAA Division II play. I'm looking forward to seeing what he accomplishes at the next level."
Originally from Chicago, Taylor was the #6-ranked prospect in the state coming out of high school after leading North Lawndale to a state title. He went on to play at Mott Community College, where he earned National JUCO Player of the Year honors while averaging 25 points per game and leading Mott to a 35-1 record and a JUCO national title.
The agent Taylor has signed with is Brian Brundage of Chicago-based Worldwide Career Management (WCM). Other Brundage clients include former NBA lottery pick Marcus Fizer. Taylor is among 77 players who have declared as early entry candidates. Underclassmen had until April 28 to declare themselves eligible for the draft, which will be held Thursday, June 27, in New York.
FPU currently has seven former players playing professionally all over the world, with Taylor and teammates Antonio Credit and Matt Samuels now looking to add to that number. First team All-American and All-PacWest selection Malcolm Griffin will be back to lead the Sunbirds next season.