Jermaine Taylor is the biggest sleeper in the 2009 NBA Draft.
A 6-4, 215-pound senior from the University of Central Florida, Taylor earned Conference USA Player of the Year honors this year after averaging 26.2 points per game, good enough for third in the nation. While Jermaine prepares himself for the Draft, he’ll be keeping Dimemag.com updated every step of the way with his exclusive pre-draft blog. From his training to his workouts to life on the road, Jermaine will be giving us a behind-the-scenes view of his road to the show.
Hey, what’s up? This is Jermaine Taylor. I’m 22 years old and I played college basketball for the University of Central Florida for the past four years. I was raised in Tavares, Florida, about 45 minutes to an hour drive from Orlando, and decided on UCF because it was close to home. That way my Mom, family and friends could see me play. Also my cousin Darryl Davis played for the Coach Speraw in the early ’90s and he told me good things. Plus, getting playing time right away was important to me and UCF provided the opportunity for me to play major minutes.
My goals for this year were winning the Conference USA Player of the Year, earning my degree and getting drafted in the 2009 NBA Draft. So winning the C-USA Player of the Year made me proud that I achieved one of my goals, but I’m not going to be satisfied until all of my goals are accomplished. I need two summer classes to graduate, and I’m already signed up for the courses, so I’ll graduate later this summer.
Right now I’m finishing the semester and working out in Orlando after school. I’m working hard on my game every day, trying to get better at some of the things I heard I needed to work on from Portsmouth [Invitational Tournament]. I’m working out in the weight room and I’m doing a lot of shooting, mostly from the NBA three-point line. I’m also working on my ball handling, my mid-range jump shot and drills to increase my speed and lateral quickness for defense.
I appreciate that Dime has taken an interest in me. I felt that during the season I didn’t get the respect I deserved, even though I was the third leading scorer in the nation. It never bothered me though because I knew what kind of player I was, and I knew once I got to Portsmouth I was gonna show everyone that I’m also one of the best in the nation. [Editor’s Note: Taylor led all 64 participants in scoring with 64 points in three games.]
I watch players like Blake Griffin, Stephen Curry and other guys from so called big colleges get talked about every day during the season on ESPN, but I never saw my name come up – even though I was doing some of the same things they were doing.
From Orlando, I left this weekend to train in Indianapolis with Shon Bolden. He’s the same guy who trained rookie George Hill, who is a client of my agent Michael Whitaker. I will be training with George and a few returning college basketball players, but I am not so concerned with who I am training with, but rather focused on improving my overall game. My first workout is with Oklahoma City Thunder coming up soon.
As far as Jermaine Taylor the person, I am quiet, laid back, respectful and like to have fun. I enjoy movies and hip-hop, and I am very competitive, hard working and a good teammate. I want others to make it out of UCF because they were inspired by me making it. I was inspired to see Brandon Marshall make the NFL from my school and my long time friend Joe Burnett – we were friends before we attended UCF – get drafted by the Steelers in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Check back often to keep tabs on Jermaine’s journey to the 2009 NBA Draft.