As was reported on Monmouth's athletics Web site, rising junior forward Travis Taylor will be leaving the Hawks in order to "further enhance his chances of playing in the NBA" as Monmouth coach Dave Calloway stated in the blog.
Taylor, who, along with Quinnipiac's reigning player of the year, Justin Rutty, was probably going to be the most proven returning post in the Northeast Conference thus far (the Mount's Raven Barber will undoubtedly be in that category after this season), was suspended for seven games last season for undisclosed reasons. I have two sources at Monmouth who told me when the incident was fresh last year, what exactly the violation was. It was not a trivial one and I'll leave it at that.
These same Monmouth connects also tell me what a Monmouth blog is already reporting today - that Taylor could be joining former Robert Morris head coach Mike Rice at Rutgers. This would be a very interesting reunion and Taylor would likely garner a lot of playing time for two reasons: 1. By Big East standards, Rutgers sucks (but probably not for long). So he shouldn't have to work as hard to climb up the depth chart as he would at say, Syracuse or Villanova. 2. Rice knows him well and wouldn't bring Taylor in unless he knew he could use him.
So by all accounts, it seems very likely that Taylor will be heading to Rutgers, although I feel bad for him if someone told him he's an NBA prospect. I'm sure he has a future in professional basketball, but not on this country's biggest stage.
As Calloway is in his contract year and has now lost the graduated Whitney Coleman, the transferring Taylor, as well as Dutch Gaitley and George Barbour, who both quit the team, you could definitely say he is on the hot seat. There was speculation that he would be fired at the end of last season if the Hawks did not win a game in the NEC tournament - they didn't - but just before the quarterfinals tipped off Monmouth's athletic director gave him a vote of confidence that he would not be let go.
With all that has gone on since then coupled with last year's turmoil and the fact that the school pumped millions of dollars into a beautiful new arena, Calloway would likely need a run deep into March to stick around if he's not given the hook before then.
They only disappointing twist in this story from a drama standpoint is that Taylor will have to redshirt the coming season season, and therefore will not be able to suit up for the Rutgers @ Monmouth matchup that will take place in the coming season. In my senior year (two years ago) and third year playing for the Mount men's golf team, Calloway was the starter on the first hole of the Monmouth Invitational, and that's when he told me that they would be playing Seton Hall in the opening season of the arena (last year) and Rutgers the next (the coming season.) I'm sure this is common knowledge around West Long Branch, N.J., but since I can't find it officially printed anywhere I thought I'd let you know where I heard that.
A New York Post story on Taylor from 1/9/10