Archive - Feb 2011
Player of the Week: Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor
Wisconsin had what appeared to be a challenging week on their hands with two games against Purdue and Michigan State, but exited it looking like a team ready to give Ohio State its toughest battle when the Buckeyes bring their undefeated record into the Kohl Center next Saturday. The one-two punch of Jon Leuer and Jordan Taylor has the defensively focused Badgers capable of putting up big numbers on offense as well. The duo has scored an incredible 58 percent of Wisconsin’s points in Big Ten play, but that only is half the story. The two are playing at incredibly efficient rate for rate at which they are used offensively. Leuer has a true shooting percentage of 57.3 percent and Taylor is trumping him with a 3:1 assist-to-turnover rate to go with a true shooting percentage of 63.2 percent. In addition to being second in the Big Ten in scoring, Taylor is sixth in assists. This past week, the Badger leading men had to labor more than usual against Purdue. Leuer scored a game-high 24 points on 8-18 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds. Taylor had 15 points and 5 assists but was 4-13 shooting. They made up for it against Michigan State where they were tremendous. Taylor finished with 30 points on 9-13 shooting and added 6 assists. Leuer was 7-14 from the field and had 20 points and 6 rebounds.
Before the season, most basketball followers were well aware of the kind of player the Badgers had in Leuer, but Jordan Taylor was a bit of a question mark. He had a solid but unspectacular sophomore season and had to step into a bigger role to replace Trevon Hughes. Former Badger and Nets starting point guard Devin Harris suggested in an interview with the Wisconsin State journal last summer that Taylor would emerge as a point guard in the same way he did in his junior season, "He'll be able to do more things, when I was a sophomore and playing with Kirk (Penney) I couldn't do everything I wanted to do. By the time my junior year came around, it was my team and I relished the freedom." With the kind of season Taylor has put up, there is little doubt that he has made the same leap as a college point guard. His development has allowed this Badger team, which did not come into the year with especially high expectations on a national level, to be a real threat to go deep into March. If that happens, NBA scouts will have themselves a good extended look at a strong, skilled, and intelligent point guard who has flown completely under the radar despite playing at as high a level as any point guard since the calendar turned.
Everybody is waking up from their Super Bowl Sunday hangovers with the realization that March Madness is nearly one month away. College basketball will now take center stage and seasonal fans will find tremendous balance throughout the sport this year. We’re ready for an exciting stretch run, but here’s how this week’s Power 16 shakes out:
Alec Burks, former Gatorade Missouri high school player of the year, Big 12 Freshman of the Year, and possible lottery pick, caught up with NBAdraft.net’s Eric Yearian to discuss his sophomore season, his preparations for his jump to the next level, and his motivation to become the great player he is.