April 28, 2010
By Doug Richards
ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - Jermaine Taylor knows his history. As a result, the former UCF star, who recently concluded his rookie year with the Houston Rockets, is hoping that his pattern of improvement continues.
The 2008-09 Conference USA Player of the Year, Taylor appeared in 31 games for the Rockets and averaged 4.1 points this season. The shooting guard earned the most of his minutes at the end of the season, and started four games late in the year.
Taylor believes that next year he will make a major contribution for the Rockets.
He has good reason to think that his second year will be more impressive than his first. As a freshman at UCF in 2005-06, Taylor averaged 4.3 points. He made big strides after his first collegiate campaign and averaged 12.7 points as a sophomore.
The Tavares native sees parallels between his freshman year at UCF and his first season in the NBA.
"It is exactly like that," Taylor said. "My freshman year of high school was like that too. It was a lot of learning and watching. I was adjusting to the NBA."
Taylor's educational rookie year included three trips to the NBA D-League, where he averaged 19.8 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in eight contests with Rio Grande Valley. He showed improvement throughout the year, and was rewarded for his patience on March 27 when he started his first NBA game against the Los Angeles Lakers. In 30 minutes against the defending world champions, Taylor shot 6-of-14 from the field and finished with a season-high 15 points.
"That was a real good experience," he said. "I felt like I was ready. I think that they (the Rockets) thought I was ready. But it is hard for coach (Rick Adelman) to find time for me when you have Kevin Martin, Trevor Ariza and Shane Battier. I sat and waited for my turn. It is a long season. Guys wear down and get hurt. I just waited for my time."
Taylor expects to make more strides this offseason. He has spent some time back in Orlando since the season ended, but will return to Houston soon to workout at the Rockets' practice facility. For the second-straight year, he will participate in the NBA summer league with Houston.
Adelman and members of the Rockets' front office have already told Taylor what to work on over the summer.
"They want me to work with four other guys. I have never played with guys as talented as me," Taylor said. "I had to adjust to playing with guys who can make plays."
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