Tyshawn Taylor returns to Lawrence to meet with fans, prepares for first NBA season

Every August for the past four years, former Kansas guard Tyshawn Taylor was in Lawrence, starting a new school year and preparing for a run at the Big 12 title in the upcoming basketball season.

Now a guard for the Brooklyn Nets, Taylor found himself back in town, except this time he was at the new Dillons on Massachusetts Street, chatting, smiling and posing for pictures with his fans before his return to New Jersey, where he will prepare for his first season in the NBA.

“It’s a weird feeling,” Taylor said. “It feels good to be back. I love Lawrence of course, but to not have my same schedule, coming back, going to school, working out with the team, it feels a little bit weird.”

In Brooklyn, Taylor shares a bond with the player Deron Williams, whom he will back-up this season, as both guards played their college career under coach Bill Self, Williams at Illinois and Taylor at Kansas.

When the two first met, Williams asked Taylor how he liked playing for Self. Taylor responded: “I love coach Self, man. He’s crazy, but I love him.”

Taylor said Williams understood what Taylor was talking about, and the players had a long conversation about Self and the respect the two men share for the coach.

In his four years at Kansas, Taylor earned a reputation as a frequent Twitter user. He  uses the social media site to interact with his more than 37,000 followers.

“I use it for fun,” Taylor said. “I never take it too serious. I don’t try to get in trouble anymore. I just talk. I’m just myself. I think people get to see us, who they think are super stars, as just being normal people.”

As Taylor transitions to life in the NBA, his team is undergoing a transition of its own. The Nets are moving from New Jersey to their new home in Brooklyn this season.

“This is kind of new for them too,” Taylor said. “Starting a new organization, everything is starting from scratch, a new arena. Some of the same players, but kind of a whole new team as well. It’s cool because I don’t feel like I’m going through change by myself, I’ve got other people going through it with me, so it just helps, makes it a little easier.”

Taylor, a Hoboken, N.J. native, grew up watching the Nets in New Jersey. He said it’s an interesting change for the team to move to Brooklyn.

“I’m in New York — that’s like the mecca of basketball — so I’m excited and just really looking forward to the opportunity,” Taylor said.

Although the team is moving to a neighboring state, the practice facility is still located in the Garden State, allowing Taylor to live in Hoboken, a halfway point between where he practices and where he plays.

While Taylor is excited for the chance to play in the new Barclays Center this season, he knows where his true home court will always be.

“There’s just no comparing anything to the Fieldhouse,” Taylor said. “There’s never going to be anything like that.”

— Edited by Allison Kohn

  • Updated Feb. 3, 2013 at 4:14 pm