Even bad news from the dentist couldn't wipe the smile off Tyshawn Taylor's face Tuesday afternoon.
"I need a root canal," Taylor, a 6-foot-3 senior point guard from St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., said in a phone interview from the doctor's office to discuss his decision to commit orally to play basketball at Kansas University. "Except for that, I'm really happy."
Taylor, who averaged 10.0 points and 5.0 assists per game for 32-0 New Jersey state champion St. Anthony, originally signed with Marquette, but recently asked out of his letter of intent. He chose the Jayhawks the second time around over runner-up Georgia Tech.
"I'm the only player who can say he's going from the high school national championship team to the college championship team. I think it's pretty cool I can say that," said Taylor, whose St. Anthony team finished No. 1 in USA Today's final rankings.
Taylor said last week's trip to KU sold him on coach Bill Self's program.
"The basketball atmosphere is crazy there. I come from a high school where basketball is everything. I'm going to a college where it's the same thing. I think that is what I need," Taylor said.
Highlights of his trip included hanging out with hosts Sherron Collins and Russell Robinson and attending a team dinner at Self's house, not to mention a special activity after dinner.
"We went down to the football field one night," he said. "We only had flashlights. Highlights from the season were played on the video board. We watched the highlights as a group. It was an unbelievable experience."
As to how soon Taylor will provide highlights at KU, veteran St. Anthony coach Bob Hurley said it should be sooner rather than later.
"He is team-oriented, a very good passer. He can penetrate and get the ball to the basket. He's a great finisher. He jumps over the top of people," Hurley said of Rivals.com's No. 77-rated player, who averaged 15.0 points a game in the state tournament including scoring 17 points off 7-of-7 shooting in the state title game.
"He's a very good defender. He guarded Tyreke Evans (6-5, American Christian High of Aston, Pa.), one of the best players in the country who was averaging 33 a game. He scored 17 against us off 21 shots. Ty will be in a place to make a name for himself at the college level. There's a big upside here."
Taylor said he'll be patient in trying to crack the rotation.
"Anywhere I'd go I'd have to compete for minutes. I wouldn't go there if I did not think I was good enough to play. I need to get stronger," the 160-pounder added. "I visited with the strength coach (Andrea Hudy), and she said it would not be a problem in me adding weight."
Taylor was able to visit with his new coach Tuesday. Self and assistant Joe Dooley were in town. They are also recruiting Taylor's junior teammate - 6-5 shooting guard Dominic Cheek, the No. 12-rated player in the Class of 2009.
"Ty and Dominic are good friends," Hurley said. "Dominic is more of a 2-3 (shooting guard-small forward). They do not play the same position. I think Kansas will remain on his list of schools."
¢ Big class: KU now has a recruiting class of seven. Taylor is joined by high schoolers Travis Releford (6-5, Roeland Park Miege), Quintrell Thomas (6-8, St. Patrick, Elizabeth, N.J.), prep-school players Marcus and Markieff Morris (6-9 and 6-10, Apex Academy, Pennsauken, N.J.) and juco players Tyrone Appleton (6-3, Midland College) and Mario Little (6-5, Chipola CC). The Jayhawks are one over the limit of 12 scholarships. Darrell Arthur is considered a likely candidate to remain in the NBA Draft, while Mario Chalmers also has declared without an agent.
¢ No letter: Taylor will sign a scholarship-aid agreement, not a letter-of-intent. Athletes are allowed to sign just one letter in their careers.
¢ Tech's good, too: It turned out to be tough for Taylor to turn down Georgia Tech, a school known for outstanding point guards. Taylor told coach Paul Hewitt he was struggling picking either KU or Tech and needed to sleep on his decision Monday night.
"Nothing against coach (Paul) Hewitt's program. They have a great team as well," Taylor said. "I just felt like Kansas was the right place for me."
¢ More on Jayhawk Invitational: The schedule for this weekend's Jayhawk Invitational AAU tournament is available at Jayhawkinvitational.com.
Some top matchups will take place Friday night in Allen Fieldhouse. KU targets Michael Dixon and Jeff Reid will lead KC Pump N Run against KU target Elijah Johnson's L.A. Pump N Run Elite team at 8:30 p.m.
KU targets Lance Stephenson and Derrick Favors will lead the Atlanta Celtics against the Las Vegas Prospects at 9:45 p.m.
At 7:15 p.m., KU target Stephen Van Treese's Indiana Elite team will meet Howard Pulley, which is led by future Minnesota player Royce White and KU target Rodney Williams, 6-5 from New Hope, Minn.