In the following weeks, The Post will analyze Ohio men’s basketball roster and the players' potential impact in the 2016-17 season.
This week, The Post will look at sophomore forward Doug Taylor:
Guard Jaaron Simmons said Doug Taylor looks completely different from a year ago.
Forward Kenny Kaminski added that Taylor looks like a defensive end for the football team.
“Doug looks like a freak right now,” Simmons said on Friday. “He shed a lot of fat and turned into a big defenseman really.”
Taylor has changed — his body composition, at least — and that could bode well for an Ohio squad seeking more depth and defense in 2016. According to Ken Pomeroy’s statistics, Ohio ranked 236 in adjustment defense last season — one of the worst in the Mid-American Conference.
Part of it was youth. Part of it was Ohio’s natural identity as an offensive juggernaut still trying to stop teams from scoring.
“We don’t have to be the best defensive team ever to be effective, but we have to be an improved defensive team to be more effective,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said. “You don’t want to ignore (the offensive end), we can still grow offensively. The big ticket items, the things I really, really want to knock out, have a lot to do with the defensive end of the court.”
For Taylor last year, he provided more hedge defense during opposition’s pick-and-rolls — and often gave Ohio centerpiece Antonio Campbell a quick breather.
But those minutes were few and far between. Taylor only saw nine minutes during the Mid-American Conference Tournament last year.
He also only saw about five minutes per game, splitting his role with Wadly Mompremier.
But in 2016, expect more from Taylor.
Taylor’s grown an inch and lost seven pounds, helping keep pace with opposing guards during preseason practice and a potential 1-2 punch with Campbell, last year’s MAC Player of the Year.
“Me and Doug actually worked together transforming our bodies together,” Campbell said. “He transformed his body— gained a lot of strength. Doug is a strong, strong specimen.”
A combo of Campbell and Taylor could add some needed front court reliability. With a saturation of guards and flex players in Ohio’s rotation, its front court only has four players in Campbell, Taylor, Mompremier and freshman Jason Carter.
Phillips has yet to comment on Ohio’s starting lineup and that makes sense; the Bobcats are a month away from their season opener.
But the idea of Taylor starting tandem with Campbell is a suggestion to ponder. Something Campbell thinks could work.
“Honestly, teams wouldn’t be ready for that,” Campbell said.