Nolan Taylor is starting his fourth year at Keller and is looking to add a fourth basketball district championship to his credit.
To assist his Indians teammates achieve that feat, Taylor said his versatility will be something opponents will have to contend with.
The 6-6 ½ forward and Pepperdine commit has put in the work to make that possible, adding to his nearly 20-points-per-game average.
He said he wanted to finalize his signing to Pepperdine early to have more focus on the season at hand.
Taylor said he’s worked in the off-season on his ball-handling and consistency. In the process, he’s dropped 25 pounds to become quicker.
Now, as one of just two returning starters for Keller, Taylor is ready to be another go-to player. Fellow returning starter junior R.J. Nembhard will join Taylor as the nucleus for the Indians.
“I’ve worked on ball-handling and other moves such as stepping back [and shooting] and adding on to my versatility,” Taylor said.
The post player was surrounded by other weapons last year but will be expected to carry more of the load this year.
“I was primarily in the low post as a freshman and my knowledge for the game is completely different, along with my skills,” he said of his progression now as a senior.
The weight loss and training has made Taylor faster, quicker and more consistent in his play. His summer work on the court for the Nike Team Texas Elite has helped play-test his game.
“Where I was scoring 10 points one night and no points the other night, I should be putting 20 points in every night,” he said of what his consistency will look like this year. “I have to play off my teammates and do the little things.”
Knowing he’s the senior leader, Taylor said he realizes he’s “got to bring it every day and make sure everyone’s on the same page. I help set the tone in practice.”
That pressure doesn’t bother Taylor, he said, as he wants the focus on the success of the team – not his numbers.
In addition to Nembhard, Taylor said fellow senior Shane Steinkraus is a willing passer and will be there to kick it out when Taylor draws a double-team.
“I’ll be more of a passer this year and handling the ball more and have more freedom,” he said. “When I need to score, I’ll score,” Taylor said.
While the others comprising the Indians haven’t had a substantial amount of playing time, Taylor said he feels the team is better prepared at this stage of the year than last year.
“Last year, we came in with egos because everyone was a returning starter,” he said. “Everyone is playing harder and having to earn their playing time this year.”
Keller launched the season this week, playing Plano on Tuesday, with other non-district games coming up with Mansfield Summit and Plano West.
The rugged schedule is set to prepare the Indians for district play, Taylor said. “You don’t just want a winning record, but to be ready for district,” he said.