Jermaine Taylor Pre-Draft Q&A - Part II

June 24, 2009

ORLANDO, Fla. (UCFAthletics.com) - On Thursday evening, former UCF star guard Jermaine Taylor (Tavares, Fla.) is hoping to hear his name called during the National Basketball Association Draft. Taylor, who garnered Conference USA Player of the Year honors in 2008-09, recently took time out of his busy schedule to give UCF fans a look at his thoughts before the draft.

Former UCF football star Joe Burnett, one of your closest friends, was selected by Pittsburgh in the National Football League Draft in April. How special is it that both you and Joe will be starting professional careers at the same time?
"It is great. We are real big stars back home. I don't think a lot of people from Orlando actually knew that we grew up together. If you ask people back home, they will tell you that our life stories could be a movie because of how close we were and that we went through a lot of the same things. (We) didn't plan on coming to college together, but it ended up that way. The same things we were doing in high school, we did in college. It is just like a dream come true for the both of us. People watched us grow up, and to see what we are doing now, everyone is real excited about it."

Do you think that you are helping put UCF on the map on the national basketball scene?
"I take a lot of pride in it. That is why everywhere I go, I make sure that they know about UCF. I don't just tell them that I went to UCF. I let them know what kind of school it is. They have heard of UCF, but they don't really know too much about it. That is where I come in. I let them know everything. I let them know that we are one of the largest schools in the nation, that we just got the new arena, just got the new football stadium. I am making sure that they know about UCF. It is a great place to be. I had the time of my life here."

Who was the best shooter that you played with while at UCF?
"Mike O'Donnell. I always knew that if Mike got a wide-open shot, it was going in. And I knew that if he was not wide open, it was still going in because it was Mike O'Donnell shooting. He is one of the best shooters that I have ever played with."

Which player was the best defender?
"Dave Noel. He takes on the challenge of stopping you and not letting you score. He takes pride in that."

Besides yourself, who was the best athlete that you played with during your UCF career?
"Lavell (Payne). To this day, Lavell is one of the best players that I have played with. He is like a monster. He has big hands and can get every rebound. He can dunk on you. I think that he could have been a lot better if he could have had another year here."

Not including yourself, who was the best dunker?
"I would say Lavell. Dave Diakite also. It would have to be one of the two. They both dunk so hard and are so athletic. They both get their whole head above the rim. That dunk that Dave did in his first game (against North Carolina A&T) was crazy."

Who was the best at distributing the ball?
"A.J. Rompza. He can find you anywhere. Mike O'Donnell is not too far behind. It just seemed like A.J., (passing) is what he loved to do. There were times where I did not think he saw me. The next thing I knew, he puts it right where I want it."

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