Jack Taylor’s basketball career has taken him from Black River Falls High School to prep school in Mercersburg, Pa., to UW-La Crosse to Grinnell, Iowa.
Along the way, Taylor transformed from a prominent local player in search of an opportunity to better his game into one with a name noticed in every circle of the basketball community after breaking a national scoring record.
He went from making jump shots in gymnasiums at Arcadia and Viroqua to having a 138-point performance on Nov. 20, 2012, being discussed by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
“A lot of time has passed, but that’s still crazy to me,” Taylor, who scored 138 points in one game and 109 in another during his three-year career at Grinnell, said on Tuesday. “What I did that night just followed me, and it continues to follow me.
“I have people from Black River Falls and Grinnell tell me that when people find out where they’re from, they are asked, ‘Do you know Jack Taylor?’”
But Taylor is trying to make a new impression — one he can turn into a living playing the game he loves — today and Thursday as part of the Scorers 1st Showcase in Las Vegas.
It’s where he will put his game on display during four games played in front of international scouts holding the key to a possible future in basketball.
“Hopefully, I can go out there and play well enough for coaches in attendance to reach out and offer a contract,” said Taylor, who averaged 30.1 points per game while studying biochemistry during his Grinnell career. “I have some other plans if the showcase doesn’t work out, but I want to give this my best shot.”
That will involve showing scouts — mostly from European leagues — that he is much more than the kind of player he was in the shoot-as-fast-as-you-can philosophy the Pioneers use so well.
“I think a lot of people have probably looked at stats and see my 3-pointers,” Taylor said. “They see that I shoot a lot of them and figure I’m just a catch-and-shoot player.
“I want to show my playmaking ability and ability to score off the dribble, too.”
Taylor, 24, signed with the Scorers 1st agency after graduation, but he still had to earn a spot in the two-day showcase. Sixty players had applications accepted, and six appointed coaches took part in a six-round draft to fill rosters.
Taylor, listed by Grinnell at 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, was selected 16th. His role in the showcase will be to control a group of players looking to make their own mark while finding spots to make his own.
“The scouts need to see that I can lead a team from the point guard spot,” said Taylor, who averaged 2.8 assists per game at Grinnell. “If I continue to play, I’ll have to be able to run an offense, and it’s going be a challenge.
“But when I was in high school, I played in exposure camps around the country that also had a lot of individual players trying to make an impression, so I think I can do it.”
Taylor, who hung out at would like to get a chance to play some more basketball, but he knows that is hardly a given.
He said his education provides him with chances to become a doctor, physician assistant or pharmacist, and his faith could lead him in that direction.
“I have provided myself this platform with what I’ve done in basketball, and I’m trying to find the best way to use that,” Taylor said. “I want to play basketball, and I’ve thought about the medical field, but I’ve also thought about planting a church.”
“I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing yet.”
Taylor’s performance today and Thursday will go a long way in determining whether or not professional basketball is part of that.