Basketball

Taylor declares, Smart to coach Team USA

Isaiah Taylor. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Isaiah Taylor. (Will Gallagher/IT)

AUSTIN — University of Texas junior point guard Isaiah Taylor has informed the coaching staff that he will enter the 2016 NBA Draft but will not hire an agent at this time.

Taylor earned All-Big 12 First Team honors along with spots on the NABC All-District 8 Team and the USBWA All-District VII Team as a junior. He led the team in scoring (15.0 ppg), assists (5.0 apg) and minutes (30.9 mpg) and tied for the team lead in steals (29) during the 2015-16 season. Taylor reached double figures in scoring 25 times this year, including seven 20-point games and one 30-point effort.

He posted a 2.69 assist-to-turnover ratio (164 assists, 61 turnovers), the third-best single-season mark in UT history. Taylor ranks seventh on the school’s career assists chart (415) and No. 20 on the UT career scoring list (1,254 points).

COLORADO SPRINGS – University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart will guide the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team in its quest for a fourth straight U18 gold medal, along with USA assistant coaches Kevin Ollie of the University of Connecticut and Mark Turgeon of the University of Maryland.

Shaka Smart. (Will Gallagher/IT)
Shaka Smart. (Will Gallagher/IT)

The trio will lead the USA at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile. Not only is a gold medal at stake, the top four finishing teams will earn a qualifying berth in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.

“With his experience from the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, Shaka Smart is an excellent choice to lead the 2016 USA U18 National Team,” said Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), chair of the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee, which selected the USA coaching staff. “Coach Smart and assistant coaches Kevin Ollie and Mark Turgeon are very successful head coaches at the college level, and the USA team will be completely prepared to compete for the gold medal.”

Smart helped USA Basketball teams to gold medals at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. Overall as a USA Basketball assistant coach, Smart is 14-0.

In his first season as head coach for the University of Texas in 2015-16, Smart led his team to a 20-13 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Prior to that, he was a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University for six seasons (2009-10 to 2014-15), where he compiled a 163-56 record (.744 winning percentage) and made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2011 Final Four.

He also has 10 seasons of experience as an assistant coach at five different schools, and as an assistant coach, he has an all-time record of 220-97 (.694 winning percentage).

“It’s a tremendous honor to coach the USA U18 National Team and represent our country in international play,” Smart said. “The opportunity to work with Kevin Ollie and Mark Turgeon is something I’m extremely excited about. They are two of the best coaches in the country, and I’m looking forward to learning a great deal from each of them.”

In 2015-16, Ollie led Connecticut to a 25-11 record, an American Athletic Conference Tournament title and the NCAA Tournament second round. In four seasons overall as the Huskies head coach, he owns a 97-44 record (.688 winning percentage), including winning the 2014 NCAA National Championship.

He was an assistant coach for two seasons at Connecticut (2010-11 and 2011-12), during which time the Huskies were 52-23 (.693 winning percentage) and won the 2011 NCAA Championship.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of USA Basketball,” Ollie said. “Any time you are asked to represent your country, especially in a worldwide competition, it comes with a tremendous sense of pride and responsibility. I am grateful to be asked to help mold these outstanding young men into a team that can compete at the highest level.”

Turgeon served as a USA Basketball court coach this past summer at the 2015 U.S. Pan American Men’s Basketball Team training camp.

In 2015-16, Turgeon led the Terrapins to a 27-9 record and the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen.

In his five seasons as head coach at the University of Maryland, he owns an overall record of 114-49 record (.675 winning percentage).

He also was the head coach at Texas A&M University for four seasons, at Wichita State University for seven seasons and at Jacksonville State University for two seasons. In 18 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he is 364-218 (.625 winning percentage).

He also owns 10 years of experience as a college assistant coach and one year (1997-98) as an assistant coach with the NBA Philadelphia 76ers.

“I’m really excited and appreciative of this opportunity to be associated with USA Basketball and the U18 national team,” Turgeon said. “I have a great deal of respect for Shaka Smart and Kevin Ollie and look forward to working with them and a talented group of players.”

In addition to Boeheim, the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee includes Bob McKillop (Davidson University), Matt Painter (Purdue University), Lorenzo Romar (University of Washington) and athlete representative Curtis Sumpter.

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Justin was born a sports fan. From the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers, he fell in love with sports at a young age. Justin lettere...