When it comes to rebounding, University of Toledo senior Steve Taylor, Jr., is greedy.
Already with a 23-rebound game this season, the Marquette transfer wants to grab 30 in a game.
“Rebounding is one of my strongest points,” Taylor said. “I have to make sure I keep that up and I just have to be greedy. I like being greedy on the glass. It’s just something I like to do.”
Through seven games this season, Taylor is averaging 15.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game and already put together a stretch of five consecutive games with a double-double.
He grabbed 23 boards in an overtime home win over Youngstown State, the most by a UT player since 1971, when Doug Hess recorded a school-record 27 rebounds against Marshall.
To Taylor, there is no way to teach what he does on the glass. It’s about effort and being willing to use his physical presence and mental awareness to dominate on the boards.
“You can’t teach rebounding,” Taylor said. “You have to want to rebound. That’s just something you have to do and that is just always something I had growing up is knowing how to rebound and always wanting to rebound. That’s one thing my coach never had to worry about in high school or in college. I’m going to rebound. Even if don’t have it going on offense, I’m for sure going to rebound.”
UT coach Tod Kowalczyk said Taylor, a Chicago native, has three important qualities that have made him an effective rebounder.
“I think he has three things,” Kowalczyk said. “First of all, he has unbelievable strength. He’s got maybe the best hands of any post player I’ve ever been around. Thirdly, he has a knack for knowing where the ball is at. He knows where the ball is going.”
As a junior at Marquette in 2014-15, Taylor was second on the team in rebounding at 5.0 per game in 22.1 minutes per contest.
After spending last season on the scout team because he had to sit out a season per transfer rules, Taylor has hit the ground running. His teammates knew he could rebound the ball after seeing it in practice last season, but they are still impressed with how well he has performed so far.
“Steve is just a monster,” senior center Zach Garber said. “Physically, he’s imposing on other players. He has a grown man body, so he can move people without doing it illegally. He gets a lot of rebounds because of his sheer size. He has really long arms, so he does a good job of tipping the ball to himself, so that has helped him out a lot.”
At 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, Taylor is a load to handle down low. He says he lost weight and improved his conditioning last year which has allowed him to handle the physical toll of playing heavy minutes this season.
Taylor said sitting out last season was one of the hardest things he has ever had to do. But Kowalczyk said he was able to use the time away from games to step back and really analyze the game and find ways to improve.
“I think that time off has helped him,” Kowalczyk said. “I think it has helped him to watch the game and learn the game a little bit better. He’s a smart player and I think that year off helped him become a smarter player.”
Offensively, Taylor can bully opposing players with his strength, but he can also step out and make plays outside the key. He is extremely versatile and can take a defensive rebound and bring the ball up court to create a fast break.
With 4.1 assists per game so far, Taylor leads the team in assists, something rare for a post player.
“He’s so big and strong on the block that he can score in the post,” Kowalczyk said. “He can step out and play on the perimeter as well. Probably the best part of Steve’s game that I don’t think people realize is his ability to pass. He has a really good feel for the game and good vision. That’s why we allow him to lead our break.”
University of Toledo men’s basketball coach Tod Kowalczyk said Tuesday that junior guard Daniel Dzierzawski has been dismissed from the team.
“We have decided that it is in the best interest of our program to move forward without Daniel Dzierzawski,” Kowalczyk said.
Dzierzawski, a 6-foot-0 guard from Hamilton, Ont., was averaging 7.1 points per game in seven games this season.
He previously played at Moberly (Mo.) Area Community College before coming to UT this season as a junior college transfer.
Contact Brian Buckey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6110.
At 6-foot-7 and 240 pounds, UT’s Steve Taylor, Jr., is tough to handle in the paint, but he is also versatile enough to run the Rockets’ fast breaks. BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH