MADISON, Wis. -- Jordan Taylor's season had its share of ups and downs, but the senior got the recognition his coach thought he deserved Monday when he was named first-team all-Big Ten by the coaches and second-team all-Big Ten by the media.
He became the sixth Badger to be named first-team all-Big Ten twice after averaging 14.6 points and 4.1 assists per game overall and 16.3 points and 3.4 assists per game in conference games. Those numbers are down from 18.1 and 4.7 overall last season, but Bo Ryan says it is Taylor's importance to the team's success, not his statistics, that matters most.
"I know what Jordan has meant. His teammates, they can tell you what he has meant. Any fan that's ever follower Wisconsin basketball can tell you how valuable a guy like Jordan Taylor is to the program," Ryan told reporters Monday afternoon.
Taylor helped the Badgers to a 12-6 record in the Big Ten this season despite the graduation of first-team all-Big Ten forward Jon Leuer. Many attributed the absence of Leuer and fellow pick-and-pop big man Keaton Nankivil to Taylor's struggles at times this season, but he still led the team in points, assists and steals. He also averaged 19 points in Wisconsin's final three games of the season (all wins) and is on pace to become the NCAA's all-time career leader in assist to turnover ratio.
Taylor and fellow senior Rob Wilson were honored with a ceremony after the final home game of their careers Sunday. Ryan spoke Monday about first meeting Taylor after the point guard's freshman year of high school.
"I just liked Jordan the first time I talked to him and the first time I met him. There's just certain things you can feel I guess---that you can sense," Ryan said.
Lightly recruited, Taylor's only other Division I scholarship offer was from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, according to Rivals.com. After an uneventful freshman year, Taylor earned a spot in the rotation as a sophomore before breaking out in 2010-11, when he earned first-team All-Big Ten honors from both the coaches and the media.
Ryan credited associate head coach Greg Gard for seeing Taylor's potential early and recruiting him before other Big Ten schools and other programs took notice.
"There were some pretty good guards around that time. Greg Gard, who seems to find a lot of guys early, [is] probably the best evaluator of talent in the country, but I don't want a lot of people to know that because then they'd start following him around," Ryan said.