It was inevitable.
Andrew Taylor was right on schedule to have a breakout season. Anybody who didn’t see it coming just wasn’t watching.
Game by game, season by season, year by year, Marshall University’s star guard kept getting better and better. That set the stage for Taylor’s 2022-23 season.
That’s when the Corbin, Kentucky, native detonated.
After averaging 10.1 points in 2019-20, 12.0 points in 2020-21 and 14.2 points in 2021-22, Taylor exploded for 20.2 points per game in 2022-23.
That’s the beauty of Taylor’s progress. He diligently worked on his game until — click — everything fell into place.
And, no, it wasn’t a coincidence.
Far from it.
Instead, it was work, work, work and more work.
“My teammates have been probably 90% of that,” Taylor said in his usual modest manner. “Going against them one-on-one … especially going against 6-7, 6-8, Obinna (Anochili-Killen), Jacob (Conner), Wyatt (Fricks).
“And Cam Brooks-Harris when he was here, we’d go out all the time ... and, at some point, you get tired of them blocking your shot all the time.
“That’s where I developed the floater on the wrong foot and the hook shot probably came then, too. It was really playing against Cam and Jeremy Dillon when they were here — my redshirt year. The team would go on trips and we’d stay behind and play one-on-one and just go at it for hours.”
Taylor smiled while reminiscing.
“When I first got here,” he said, “Cam would block my shot every time. I hadn’t been against anybody like him before. So, I had to figure something out.”
That’s when he started working diligently on what has become his devastating left hand.
“I just do everything with my left that I do with my right,” Taylor said. “It all balances out.”
It’s like being an ambidextrous basketball player.
“That’s what you try to be,” Taylor said. “That’s what you aim for, for sure.”
Then, there’s the new, much quicker release on his jumper.
“I feel like it was just putting it all together and not thinking about it, at this point,” the junior said. “When I first got here, me and coach Dan (coach Danny D’Antoni and coach (Corny) Jackson worked on my form quite a bit.
“Probably the first two years. By the third year, I kind of had it down for the most part. And this year, I just let it fly ... let it go. You put in the work and as long as you trust the thousands of hours you’ve put in, then don’t think about it.
“If you do, you’re doing yourself an injustice.”
As a result, Taylor’s release has become lightning-fast.
“Yeah, it definitely helps,” he said. “At times, whenever I’m not open, it just feels like I am open because I can get it off anywhere. Even if the dude is standing in my face, it’s like he’s not there.”
As a result, Taylor was honored as a member of the five-man 2023 All-Sun Belt team.
So, will the outcome of Marshall’s game Saturday against Texas State in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament quarterfinals in Pensacola, Florida, alter any of that?
Not one bit.
Andrew Taylor has arrived.