Jimmie Taylor Strives For USA Menís U16 Team, Gold Medal
Jimmie Taylor, a 6-10, 235-pound forward/center from Greensboro, Ala., says his most prized possession is his state championship ring. Bigger than the ring, though, would be a gold medal, he says. Taylor is one of 27 young athletes competing for a spot on the 2011 USA Menís U16 National Team, which will be announced Sunday evening.
Taylor recently completed his sophomore season at Greensboro High School, where he aided his team to the Alabama Class 3A state championship with 10.2 ppg., 8.1 rpg. and 5.6 bpg. As a result, he was named a Tuscaloosa News Super 5, in addition to being selected to the Alabama Class 3A All-State first team. In two seasons, he has tallied 464 points, 384 rebounds, 243 blocked shots and boasts a 60.0 shooting percentage in 52 games.
This is your first USA Basketball training camp. Did anyone have advice for you or help you prepare?
Itís very exciting. I was a little nervous, but I just think about the worst that could happen and itís not that bad. My cousin, Erwin Dudley, came out here one time when he was in college. He told me it was a great experience.
Can you talk about your state title season in 2010-11?
It was a long season. Like people say, it took blood, sweat and tears; that is what it was like.
Your team went from a 6-16 record in 2009-10 to a 28-6 finish in 2010-11, what changed?
Everybody thought more about the game. They wanted to win more. They didnít want a losing season. We spent a lot more time offseason in the gym.
Are you close with your cousin who played at Alabama and now plays in Turkey? What have you learned about basketball from him?
When he comes home, we hang out or go to the gym. He has taught me a lot of the dirty moves and the little tricks and stuff that they use overseas. He also talks about taking care of your body.
You said your favorite takeout was two McChickens, one McDouble, a large fry and a large shake. How often do you eat that?
It changed. I got tired of that. Itís still the two McChickens, though, with the large fry and large chocolate shake. I donít mess with the double cheeseburger too much. I eat that about three times a week.
Does anybody get on you about your diet?
No. They donít know about it. Iíll probably start to eat better in the future.
How did you prepare for training camp?
I trained with my cousin. We just worked out a lot.
For someone who hasnít seen you play, how would you describe your game?
Iím mostly a defensive player. Iím a good shot blocker. On offense, I can score if you want me to, and rebound.
How has your time here training with USA Basketball improved you as a player?
Iíve started running the floor better. Iíve also started to see what I have to do on defense more.
Through the first four practice sessions, what do you think has stood out about your performance?
My energy. The energy I bring stands out, I think.
What has surprised you about the experience?
The high expectations, like how many baskets they expected us to get during one of the shooting drills.
Describe what this experience has been like for you personally?
Itís been tough because itís hard work. Iíve been cramping up a little, but am still playing through it. I like how much scrimmaging we do, though.
What would it mean to you to be selected to the 2011 USA Menís U16 National Team?
It would mean a lot because the state Iím from, not too many people get the chance to even come over here and try out.