Ricky Taylor Inspired by Fab Winning Mentality - Hoopsfix.com

Ricky Taylor Inspired by Fab Winning Mentality

Not long since arriving from across the pond and Ricky Taylor is already growing in confidence ahead of the new season as he prepares to help lead Newcastle Eagles to glory.

The American made no secret of his desire to be successful in what will be his second season as a pro and what better place to come in search of silverware than Tyneside, home to a team that has won an incredible 18 trophies since 2005, under the reign of Fab Flournoy.

Taylor is one of two new faces at Newcastle this season and revealed it was a phone conversation with the aforementioned player-coach that was enough to convince him to join the Eagles.

“I came to Newcastle because of the winning tradition,” he told Hoopsfix. “I believe that this is the perfect team for me to win championships and be the top team in the league. I really loved Coach Fab’s philosophy when we talked on the phone prior to me coming to Newcastle, and we have the exact mentality when it comes to playing basketball.”

“Coach’s Fab passion for the game as a coach & player is rare, and just by talking to him, that conversation confirmed that I was making the right decision.”

The 25-year-old has joined up with his new team-mates having arrived in the UK last week and has already been impressed with what he’s seen. Newcastle have retained the services of seven players (including Flournoy) from last season’s roster while Rahmon Fletcher and former player Andy Thomson are the new additions.

“Everyone is so professional,” Taylor said of his team-mates. “The atmosphere of the team is unbelievable and that alone increases my expectations everyday. I’m on a team where guys want to win Championships and they are serious about working on their games.

“I’ve been blown away and I’m really excited about starting the new season with Newcastle. As soon as I arrived in the UK, the people have been very nice and welcoming and it’s felt like I’m back at home with everyone speaking English which has made it even better.”

Like many who come to the BBL, the ultimate goal is win trophies and Taylor is no different but he would desperately love to get his hands on silverware again having last been victorious back in 2011 after winning the North Division Southern Conference Championship at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

It’s been three years since that winning memory and it’s something that Taylor is eager to change.

“I would desperately love to win some silverware this year,” he said. “This is why I came to Newcastle, and I want to create memories that will last for a lifetime. I’ve won 2 championships in college but the last was in the 2010-2011 season so it’s time for another championship!”

Joining a winning side brings a certain expectation but Taylor does not feel any added pressure, nor he is under any allusion that Newcastle’s title defence will be straight-forward.

“I would love for the team to repeat of course, nonetheless, we must work even harder because everyone will want to win the championship. I do not feel any pressure (joining the league champions) because we have a great coach and experienced players who know what to do in different game situations.

“I believe if you prepare in practice and everyone buys into the system, then any team can have success. Therefore, this year will be a challenge for us all.”

Taylor was a prolific scorer throughout his college career finishing as the 6th-highest all-time scorer with 1,225 points in 115 games whilst graduating with a Bachelors degree in Accounting. Much like the departed Malik Cooke, Taylor is a bigger guard at 6’5″ and indicated what to expect from him this season.

“I feel that I will bring scoring to the team,” he stated. “My role will simply be to make the best play possible so that my team can win. I have the ability to knock down the 3 from deep, score in the mid-range, and finish at the rim so I will assist the team in that aspect.

“Since I’m a big guard, I will be able to gobble up some rebounds and make it tough for opposing guards with my length. I can also make plays from the point guard position when needed.

“The style of play here in England will definitely benefit me,” he added. “I’ve come to the BBL because I need to be challenged for the remainder of my professional career. I believe that the game is faster here so that means that I will have to make quicker decisions. The faster the game is, the better I play.”

Taylor signed his first professional deal in Germany last summer with Pro-A side Finke Baskets but it would prove to be a frustrating year. He averaged 11.5 points per game in 30 games as Paderborn finished 12th with a 10-20 record.

“It could have been better,” he said reflecting upon his rookie season. “I believe from an individual standpoint that I was a solid player. I didn’t have the speed and explosion that I needed for a monster season so I was disappointed with my lack of strength.”

And the now second-year pro hasn’t wasted time in getting to work with Newcastle’s strength and condition coach in preparation for his new challenge. A championship is the ultimate goal but Taylor has also set out some personal targets to try to improve upon.

“I want to become a better 3 point shooter and aim for shooting around 40% or higher but also become more efficient with my shooting and increase the percentage from everywhere on the court. I also have a goal of becoming a better passer and reader of the game on defence.”

While some players ponder what life holds after basketball, Taylor has the luxury of being a CEO of two companies primarily based in the States but insists they will have no impact on his commitment to Newcastle during his spell with the club.

He explained: “I recently launched ‘Taylor Made Taxes’, which is a tax firm that prepares tax returns for citizens. I also have my own basketball ministry called ‘Ricky Taylor Basketball’ – an international basketball ministry that utilizes basketball as a platform to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I have many camps in different cities and anyone is welcomed to participate.

“I have 24 hours in a day to be productive. I probably train for 4 hours a day and sleep for about 8-10 hours leaving me with 10 hours of free time but instead of me watching TV, playing video games, etc, I’ll be working from my room. I can work from anywhere in the world so basketball will definitely still have priority over my businesses”

The new season is fast approaching and Newcastle fans will be hoping their new man is ‘Taylor-made’ for the BBL with the defence of their league title starting against Playoff and Trophy holders Worcester on September 26th.

Look out for a full team-by-team preview on Hoopsfix.com soon.

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