Quincy Taylor has always been good at the transition game.
For someone with his athletic ability it came natural to quickly turn up court, find an open lane, look for the ball and finish strong at the rim.
The Desert Vista junior is being asked to make a transition of his own that he and Thunder coach Dave Williams hope comes just as naturally.
The 6-foot-2 Taylor is being asked to transition from being a forward to a point guard where he shares the role with senior Mason Ford.
“I haven’t played it since I was little, but back then I was bigger and stronger than everyone,” he said after helping the Thunder to a 52-48 win over Mountain Pointe in Tuesday. “It’s totally different in high school. Everything happens faster and everyone is pretty good.”
As is Taylor as he leads the team in scoring at 14.9 points with five games of at least 17 points while making 15 3-pointers.
“His shot has come a long way,” Williams said. “It’s not an easy thing to do going from 4 to a 1, but he’s getting the hang of it.”
Taylor played well on junior varsity when eligible last season and got called up to varsity for a six-game stint before having to sit again.
It was enough of a glimpse — 4.7 points, 3.2 rebounds in six games — to give Williams the idea of moving him to point guard.
“He’s a heck of an athlete,” Williams said. “He’s had the physical part of it, now we are working on the mental part. That will make a big difference right now. He’s doing well and coming along.”
Taylor, who scored a season high 20 points in a 59-47 win over Salpointe Catholic on Nov. 29, has come to realize getting by on athletic ability and instincts alone is not going to get it done. Sometimes, yes, but not on the consistent basis needed by an elite point guard.
“It takes a lot more conditioning than I thought,” said Taylor, who played with a bum ankle against Mountain Pointe. “It doesn’t matter how athletic or fast you are. It’s more about making the right move at the right time. I’m starting to get a better feel for it.”
It was clear at times in the win at Mountain Pointe when the Thunder scored 15 points in the second quarter and followed it up with 20 in the third.
The offense was in sync, while Ford and Taylor shared point guard duties, and when the defense forced a Pride turnover the Thunder took care of the ball in transition. They did enough in the fourth quarter, a time that hadn’t been kind in their four defeats, to get the win in the rivalry game.
“We tried to play through it even though we made some errors like the other games,” Taylor said. “It came down to maturity and we got the job done.”
It’s similar to growth that Taylor has shown after having to watch from the sidelines too much last season.
“I was actually playing a little bit of varsity as a sophomore and seeing what I was capable of doing made me realize I had to hit the books,” he said. “I felt like I should be on the court a lot more and the only thing holding me back was my grades.”
It has led to a young Thunder squad, one that returned very few significant players from last year’s 14-13 squad after the transfer of Deonte Harrington to Hamilton, finding a new leader to mix well with Ford, David Powell, Brandon Clarke, Jeremy Rush, and others.
“Everyone says we are a year away,” Williams said. “I’d like to make a little noise this year and Taylor could be the key to it.”
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