Syracuse v Marquette

Quadriceps issue leads to slower recovery than Steve Taylor Jr. hoped for

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When it was announced in early May that Marquette rising sophomore forward Steve Taylor Jr. had undergone a surgical procedure to remove a benign growth from his right knee, the expectation from the school was that his recovery would take anywhere from three to four months.

Of course most athletes hope to recover at a rate that allows them to return to the court ahead of time, and that was no different for Taylor. But according to Andrei Greska of Paint Touches, Taylor’s quest to return to full strength hit a bump in the road due to atrophy of his right quadriceps muscle.

According to Greska the hope now for Taylor is to be back at full strength by August 25, which is when the team is due back on campus for the start of the fall semester.

“I’ve been lifting with the team (on upper body) every time we lift,” the Chicago native said. “I’ve been doing some lower body work like squats and stuff like that, but I don’t squat as heavy as the team.”

For now, Taylor will continue his rehab process in hopes of being back to full strength by the time Marquette begins its school year, within the 3-4 month time frame given back in May.

“I’m hoping to be back to full strength when we come back to school on August 25th,” he said. ”Hopefully I’m cleared to do full practices by then.”

The Simeon HS product didn’t see a great amount of playing time as a freshman, averaging just 8.6 minutes per game (3.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg), but one area in which he took full advantage of his minutes was on the offensive glass.

Marquette’s biggest personnel losses came on the perimeter, with point guard Junior Cadougan graduating and Vander Blue leaving school a year early to enter the 2013 NBA Draft.

With the returns of centers Davante Gardner and Chris Otule and forward Jamil Wilson, as well as the arrival of highly touted junior college transfer Jameel McKay, one of the nation’s best offensive rebounding teams in 2012-13 (18th in offensive rebounding percentage) could be even better in 2013-14.

How much of a factor could Taylor potentially be for Marquette, which will be one of the early favorites in the Big East? That will depend upon whether or not he’s back to full strength when classes begin. If so, head coach Buzz Williams and his staff can use those weeks before the official start of practices for skill work, as opposed to having to focus on Taylor’s rehab.

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.