Tyrone Taylor II to join UNCW in 2017

Taylor comes from a successful Wichita State program and hopes to help UNCW achieve that same level of success. 

Taylor comes from a successful Wichita State program and hopes to help UNCW achieve that same level of success. 

Noah Thomas | Sports Editor

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It looks like Kevin Keatts and his staff have been hot on the recruiting trail.

Tyrone Taylor II, a freshman guard from Wichita State University, has picked UNC Wilmington as the next destination in his basketball career. The announcement was made public by UNCW Athletics on April 25.

“I felt like the system was a perfect match for me along with a great coaching staff that believes in me,” he said in an interview with The Seahawk.

Taylor is leaving a Wichita State program that, along with UNCW, qualified for the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The Shockers, who advanced to the Round of 32, were powered to wins over Vanderbilt and Arizona after being forced to play in the tournament’s “First Four” entry round.

“I felt like it wasn’t the best fit for me overall,” he said of his time at WSU. “The playing style definitely wasn’t the best fit.” 

He will be transitioning to an up-tempo, small-ball oriented offense under the tutelage of Keatts. And at 6-foot-1, he will fit well into a roster filled with guards similar in body type. 

Statistics-wise, he averaged a less-than-impressive 3.1 points per game in 19 games played. He shot 29% from the floor and 31% from three-point range while clocking in nearly eight minutes per outing.

“I feel like I bring a lot of leadership … Lots of talent and a winning attitude,” he said.

When asked if he’d had much time to talk to his future teammates, he mentioned how he spent most of his trip to Wilmington hanging out with close friend Trey Grundy, who will enter his second season at UNCW as a true sophomore in 2016.

“I spent all of last weekend with a few of them … they seemed really close and accepting of the thought of me coming … myself and Trey are past teammates so I talked to him a lot leading up to the weekend and I spent most of my time with him … We built a lot of trust (in the past).”

Alongside Grundy, Taylor spent a post-graduate year of high school basketball at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia.

The Hargrave program’s roots at UNCW run deep, as Keatts spent 10 years at the prep school and won two national championships as its head coach before moving on as an assistant coach at University of Louisville.

In addition to Keatts, recently-graduated guard Craig Ponder also spent his prep career there. Ponder was instrumental in UNCW’s run towards a Colonial Athletic Association championship this season.

Taylor said his main hope for his future at UNCW is to win conference championships and help the Seahawks make future NCAA Tournament appearances.

He will have to wait until 2017, though, as NCAA rules dictate that he must sit out a year after transferring between Division-I schools.

After his year is up, he will make his debut as a Seahawk as a redshirt-sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining.