At a school that has produced big men such as Boston Celtics power forward Jared Sullinger and Dayton Flyer duo Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott, Columbus Northland junior Doug Taylor looks to be the next in line. Seeing a spike in production and playing time in his junior season, Taylor has become an emerging force in Ohio's 2015 class.
A raw talent at 6'8 and 215 pounds, Taylor is an intriguing athlete with an improving skill set. With great length and burst, Taylor skies for rebounds and dunks around the rim, and has shown to be more comfortable shooting from the perimeter. Making the All-Ohio Red 17u roster, Taylor's stock has seen a rise on the EYBL circuit, the nation's most competitive AAU league.
While Taylor's stock has certainly risen over the last several months, the Northland big man is still a bit of a mystery among scouts and basketball fans alike. I had a chance to sit down with the emerging post prospect to get a greater look at the type of player Taylor is on and off the court.
Interviewing Doug Taylor
Question: You've improved a ton since last season, what do you credit most for that improvement and the player you're becoming?
Taylor: My dad. In the summer he got me up every morning at 5 a.m. after he got off work to get me to the gym, the track and the pool. Every day from 5 a.m. to noon, I would work on my game, and just focus on basketball. I didn't talk to anyone or do anything but train for basketball.
Question: You played football this past season, did that have any impact on your aggressiveness on the basketball court?
Taylor: No, after the summer I gained so much confidence because I noticed the progress I made so I figured if I was going to work that hard, I gotta show off how much better I had gotten. I needed to get stronger and to improve my footwork so I played football.
Question: What parts of your game do you feel are the strongest, and in what ways would you benefit a college program after high school?
Taylor: I feel I'm the strongest with my athletic ability, my IQ, rebounding and my defensive presence on the court. I feel that any college could benefit from getting me because I'm raw talent, I can be molded into whatever they need me to be. With some coaching, and a gym, I can do anything if I work hard and keep focused.
Question: Speaking of college, what schools are showing interest, and has anyone offered yet?
Taylor: I have received offers from Miami (OH), Towson, Toledo and Northern Kentucky. I am receiving interest from Akron, VCU, Cleveland State, Bowling Green, Ohio and Iowa.
Question: Interesting. Any visits planned soon?
Taylor: A lot in June, the days aren't exact but I plan on visiting every school in the month of June.
Question: I see. What has it been like to play in the EYBL with All-Ohio Red?
Taylor: The EYBL is the craziest experience! Every game you play there's never a time you can take off. All-Ohio Red is like family now, we are all close, I love the coaches and my teammates are my brothers. It wasn't hard at all to fit in with the team.
Question: Being a member of the first Northland team to not play for a Columbus City League championship in eight years, what are you and the team looking to prove to the city next season?
Taylor: There's a new sheriff in town. My team already had a lot to prove next year, this is just added to the list. I love to surprise people and we are going to shock the world when we are cutting down nets at the Schott next March.
Question: Did you learn anything from that loss at Brookhaven?
Taylor: Yes! Never be too cocky, we went into that game thinking we had already won before the tip. As they were beating us, we fell apart because we never thought we would be in that situation. After the loss, practice was serious, but it was hard to gain confidence back after that emotional loss.
Question: Is it going to be weird in the City League with no Brookhaven?
Taylor: Very weird. I wish Brookhaven would've never closed because games like that are the most fun to play in. The City League will never have a rivalry like Northland vs. Brookhaven again.
Question: Do you think the City League will ever recover? Or will the balance of power completely shift toward Northland again for good?
Taylor: I think that Northland will dominate the city for good. If Brookhaven would've stayed open, it may have been a different story.
Men Lie, Women Lie, Footage Doesn't
Take a look at some of Taylor's highlights from this past season below.
The Scouting Report
Currently ranked as the No. 6 center in Ohio's 2015 class according to Triple Double Prospects, Taylor can be expected to appear higher on that list when updated rankings are released. Long, athletic, and active, Taylor is a player that constantly makes things happen around the rim on both ends of the floor.
With a breakout double-double performance in a big win over Roselle Catholic (NJ) at Flyin' To The Hoop in January, Taylor's efficiency in the middle was a pleasant surprise for many scouts that were unfamiliar with Taylor prior to the event. Taylor would again increase his production throughout the regular season for Northland, who for the first time since 2004-05, failed to represent the North division in the Columbus City League Championship.
The prized product of Northland's junior class, Taylor and sophomore forward Seth Towns hope to lead the Vikings back to familiar ground in 2014-15. As the Vikings will again have a major advantage in the front court, look for Taylor's stock to be solidified as a mid-major post prospect in the next year.