Charlottesville’s Justin Taylor flourishing with Syracuse in freshman year

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 3:14 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - This past weekend was a homecoming of sorts for former St. Anne’s-Belfield basketball star Justin Taylor. The Charlottesville native is in his freshman year with the Syracuse basketball team. Syracuse played at Virginia on Saturday.

Taylor was a highly recruited player coming out of STAB. The 6′6″ shooting guard had offers from many big-time programs, including UVA and Virginia Tech, but went with Syracuse.

His college career is off to a great start and appears to be a perfect fit for the Orange.

Taylor’s trip back home saw him playing against a lot of UVA players that he played pickup ball with for years.

“It was exciting coming back,” Taylor said. “Have a lot of family and friends, people who have helped me get to this spot, so it was fun coming back.”

Even head coach Tony Bennett was glad to see the hometown kid, offering a pregame handshake and wishing Taylor well.

Taylor has earned an average 17 minutes of playing time off the bench.

“Proving myself in practice, shooting the ball with confidence, rebounding, doing everything I can to help the team win,” he said.

He is also averaging about five points per game for Jim Boeheim.

“He’ll evolve into a reallly good two guard for us. He can shoot it, put it on the floor, makes good decisions, really good under game pressure,” Boeheim said.

Taylor really got noticed during his sophomore year at STAB. His junior year was canceled because of COVID-19, but Taylor kept working on his game with his coach.

“During the COVID year I saw Justin more than any player,” said STAB coach Damin Altizer. “He’s been doing workouts since he was 12 years old. Just seeing him go from an elementary school kid to high school to now, the physical maturity, developing the parts of his game that were supposed to be weaknesses when he was younger to know playing in the premier stage in the country.”

Taylor says Syracuse was the best fit for him.

“It’s been incredible, I can’t imagine being anywhere else. The relationships I’ve built here with the coaching staff, the playing style, it’s been a perfect fit for me. Ups and downs during my freshman year but I’m enjoying it,” he said.

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