Tyshawn Taylor took to Twitter on Saturday night in his new, Hoboken, N.J., two-bedroom, two-bath condo to express his emotions regarding this week’s trip to Kansas.
“Kansas tomorrow !!!! Never been this hype to be in Kansas,” Taylor wrote on his favorite social media website.
The former KU point guard, who recently signed a two-year guaranteed contract with the Brooklyn Nets to pay him $473,604 this season and $788,872 in 2013-14, explained Monday why his first trip to Lawrence since graduation in May had him so excited.
“I just miss it, man. I just miss it so much. I miss it a lot, man,” said Taylor, who signed autographs for fans for two hours at the Massachusetts Street Dillons. “It’s weird because I’ve been living a structured life for four years. To not have it any more is a weird feeling.”
Taylor, who said he’d love to make it back for the Oct. 12 Late Night in the Phog if the Nets aren’t playing an exhibition game that day, is as comfortable in Lawrence as in his hometown of Hoboken.
“I hope to make it back as much as possible. Guys were always coming back for Late Night when I played here. I hope to come back a lot as well,” noted the 6-foot-3 guard, whose four-year career as a KU starter was capped with a trip to the 2012 national title game.
Now the second-round draft pick is gearing up for his first season in the NBA while playing in familiar surroundings.
“Being from New Jersey, kind of growing up a Nets fan, then them moving to Brooklyn and end up playing for them is kind of weird,” Taylor said.
He noted that Hoboken is the “midpoint between Brooklyn and East Rutherford where the Nets practice” and that most of his teammates, would in fact, be living there.
“I’m so excited about the whole thing. Everything is brand new,” Taylor said, referring to the Nets franchise’s moving to a new arena in New York. “It’s going to be fun.”
Taylor said there aren’t really any disadvantages to playing where he grew up.
For example, he isn’t worried about any childhood friends trying to form an entourage and ask him for cash.
“I think that’s going to happen whether I’m home or not. It’s a little bit easier for them to get access to me being close to home. It was something I was going to have to deal with anyway,” Taylor said. “I am dealing with it. It is what it is. I can say no. I know who I can give money to and who not. It’s cool. Being in New York is not hard. It’s where I’m from. I am home thinking I’m Tyshawn, but I’m not just Tyshawn to everybody else.”
Taylor’s mom, Jeanell, who lived in Lawrence the past three years, has moved to Orlando, Fla., but promises to attend a batch of Nets games.
“Mom can take care of herself. It’ll be easier for me to help than before,” Taylor said. “Mom has been working. She’s not going to stop anytime soon. I’ve got to get settled on my feet before I can help anybody else, though.”
Taylor said he hasn’t made any extravagant purchases.
“I’ve got some pretty cool stuff, mostly clothes,” he said. “I’ve not got a car yet ... working on that.”
As far as what’s ahead on the court, the Nets have a batch of guards, including all-star Deron Williams and recent acquisitions Joe Johnson and C.J. Watson to go with Taylor, Keith Bogans and MarShon Brooks.
“I think they want to play him (Williams) at 2, which is why they brought C.J. in and why they drafted a point guard,” Taylor said. “I think when he had a lot of his highest-scoring games he was playing off the ball a lot. I am the rookie. I am going to get the last pick of the litter. I’m OK with that. I’m going to come to work every day, and hopefully the coaches see that.”
He believes the Jayhawks will do just fine without him.
“Elijah has been here four years. He’s learned from some guys. He’s been in big games. He knows what to do,” Taylor said of senior point guard Elijah Johnson. “Naadir (Tharpe, sophomore) has been watching for a year. I love Naadir’s game. I don’t know who else is there they brought in, but with those two, I think the ball is in good hands for sure.
“I think they’ll go through some stuff. They are a young team. Coach (Bill) Self has proven he can make any team good. We’ve got guys who’ve been on really good teams and know how to win. They’ll pull it together eventually. It’s a process, though.”