By Roy & Harv Schmidt
We do not know all of the particulars behind why Diamond Taylor recently decided to transfer from St. Joseph to Bolingbrook. Therefore, this blog is not going to be about whether Taylor made the right or wrong decision and if it was in his best interest. Instead, we are going to focus on how we think several people at both Bolingbrook and St. Joseph could end up being aided by this move, especially in the long run.
The wave of transfers that continue on an almost weekly basis in the world of Illinois high school basketball is disturbing enough as it is, but one's eyebrows tend to raise even more when one occurs just before a player's senior year in high school, as is the case with Taylor. With that being said, now is a good point to incorporate a brief history lesson.
Taylor's decision to transfer should not come as a total shock if one remembers that this rumor first surfaced right around this same time last year and was even reported (and later retracted) on another internet site. At that time both St. Joseph head coach Gene Pingatore and Mike Mullins (Taylor's AAU coach with the Illinois Wolves) stepped in and encouraged Taylor to remain at St. Joseph, telling him that it would be in his best interest from a recruiting standpoint. Taylor played his junior season for Pingatore and ultimately ended up committing to the University Of Wisconsin.
Now that Taylor's recruitment is behind him, there are certainly other factors that had to have weighed into his decision. Right at the top of the list is the fact that his father is an assistant varsity basketball coach at Bolingbrook. Taylor had also mentioned in the past how he did not enjoy the long commute from Bolingbrook to Westchester. There are probably other things that influenced the decision as well, but as we eluded to earlier, we are not going to speculate any further.
What we do know is when we look at how the whole thing went down, there could actually end up being many more winners than losers. The biggest winner could end up being one of Taylor's teammates at Bolingbrook--6'5 forward Troy Snyder, a class of 2009 prospect with D1 ability. With both Taylor and Snyder, there is no question that Bolingbrook should have a team that will be at or near the top of the Suburban Southwest conference.
Snyder is an outstanding athlete who at this point is primarily a slasher. He has a great nose for the ball and has strong instincts on the glass, which is why he excels as an offensive rebounder and scores a multitude of points on put backs. In addition, Snyder also has the ability to defend both in the post and on the perimeter. He has a solid mid-range game and simply needs to work on extending his shooting range.
Snyder currently has scholarship offers from Northern Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and is also attracting heavy interest from Evansville, Northern Iowa, Loyola-Chicago and Illinois State. With Taylor manning the Bolingbrook backcourt, there is no question that it would allow Snyder to play more around the basket and focus on what he does best.
Finally, as crazy as it may sound, another big winner in all of this could end up being Pingatore. Yes, we know that he will now begin the upcoming season in November without his top two players from last year's team, as 6'1 class of 2010 guard DeAndre McCamey is expected to be out until December due to a torn ACL. However, even without Taylor and McCamey the cupboard at St. Joseph is not bare.
One of the biggest reasons why Pingatore is among the best high school basketball coaches in Illinois is because he has consistently been able to mold teams during the summer. This situation will offer him yet another opportunity to do so and just might enable unheralded players such as class of 2009 guard Nate Rogers and class of 2010 wing Brandon Carr to step up even more. We could find out as early as this week when we trek out to the always talented Oak Park summer league at Oak Park-River Forest High School.