"A guy that has a legitimate chance to play in the NBA one day so we feel extremely blessed to get a player of his caliber."
The first time Chris Wright saw John Taylor was about a year ago in Las Vegas.
"He was at a junior college showcase and was just absolutely unbelievable," said Wright, the head men's basketball coach at Fresno Pacific. "And you see a guy like that, scoring 40 points a game, among the top competition in the country, you think there's no way in the world you're gonna get a guy like this."
Not when every other college coach is seeing the same thing.
Taylor went on to be the National Junior College Player of the Year, averaging 25 points per game for Mott Community College in Michigan, which won a national championship thanks to him.
Michigan State was interested. So was Purdue, Memphis and Fresno Pacific.
"Once we found out he wouldn't be able to qualify Division-I, that's when things really kinda heated up on the recruiting trail with him," said Wright.
From recruitment to commitment, John Taylor is now a Sunbird. Coach Wright made no secret of the fact that he'll start for the team this fall in its new conference, the PacWest.
"For us to compete, obviously we have to get players like this," he said.
Taylor comes to Fresno Pacific with two years of eligiblity.
Remember James Lewis? In his two years at FPU he was named an NAIA all-American twice, was the leading scorer on two national tournament teams, he won the conrerence's player of the year award and he was drafted into the NBA's Development League.
Then there's Marcus West; he and Lewis were teammates. He was an honorable mention all-American and went on to play professionally in Switzerland.
"Those things are extremely difficult to replace," said Wright. "But I really feel like these guys are a notch above JR and Marcus. John Taylor could have gone to any school in the country, Division-I, Division-II. Any school would have been lucky to have him.
"We've never had a player like that here at Fresno Pacific."