Name: Jahmel Taylor #5
Sport & Position: Basketball, Guard
Year & Major: Junior, Economics
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Fresno State junior guard Jahmel Taylor (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)
Ranking on top of the leaderboards in the Mountain West Conference in 3-point shooting, Jahmel Taylor has been one of the most consistent Bulldogs on the court.
On the season, per game he is averaging 12.1 points and is shooting 47.1 percent from the 3-point line. Taylor scored a season-high 21 points in a Fresno State win against Oregon State on Nov. 25. In the same game, he also made a career-high six 3-pointers.
After averaging 22.7 points per game as a senior at Pacific Hills High School of West Hollywood, he played at Washington for one and a half seasons. He transferred to Fresno State in the spring semester of 2015.
Head coach Rodney Terry said Taylor’s ability on both sides of the ball is what makes him special to the team.
“I think Jahmel has worked really hard. He had to come in and become a really good defender for us,” Terry said. “We knew he could really shoot the basketball but the biggest challenge for him was to come in and defend the way we want to defend as a program. And I think he’s worked really hard at that. I think he’s working on that every single day in terms of bringing a defensive presence.”
Taylor is majoring in economics because he plans to build a community center for his father’s church back home in Los Angeles. His father is a pastor and has been the head of the church since Taylor was 4 years old.
Taylor said he has been playing basketball since he was 1 or 2 years old. He said that even though he was young, he understood what he was doing. When he was about 5, he would try dunking the ball through a hoop the family had in their apartment, all while watching the movie “Space Jam” in the background.
Jahmel Taylor shoots a free throw during a home game at the Save Mart Center. (Christian Ortuno/The Collegian)
On if he wasn’t playing basketball: “I’d be playing football. But I’m into space and things like that, so I would want to be an astronaut if I wasn’t playing sports or going into economics. That’s kind of a huge hobby of mine.”
On what it’s been like being in Fresno: “It’s great. I’ve gotten a lot of experience here. I’ve got a great opportunity to play and give back to the community. Just have fun on the court. I think that’s the biggest thing — enjoying my time on the court.”
On being one of the top 3-point shooters in the country: “It’s very cool. Finally being able to use my skill especially this year getting a lot more attempts up. I’ve been having fun with it. I’m not too worried as far as ratings, where I am, I just try to hit as much as I can each game.”
On what makes this year’s team special: “We’ve got a lot of guys who understand that everybody wants to win. We’re not a selfish team. We don’t have one guy feeling like they need to be ahead of another guy. We all kind of stay as a unit.”
Favorite artists: “I would say my favorite artist is J. Cole. My favorite LA rapper is Dom Kennedy. Before a game, I try to listen to some gospel music to try and kind of get my head right. I listen to a little YG if I am trying to get the rhythm up a little bit.”
On pre-game routines or rituals: “I think the biggest thing for me is pray before a game. Try to talk to my dad, my family, before I come out and get shots up.”
On being a Bulldog: “It means a lot. It’s a community that thrives off winning. I love to win. Each level I’ve played at, I’ve tried to be one of the best, as far as getting wins and things like that. Being here and being with coach Terry and getting a good culture where everyone is really hungry to get a win. It feels fun for me to be a part of that.”