Another year, another article about Dante Taylor potentially breaking out.
Sorry, but I've heard this act before. More than that, I've been sold on Taylor breaking out a few times. After a slow freshman season, Taylor broke out in the 2010 Summer League. He showed some improvement that season, but still struggled with consistency.
Last year, he again showed some sparks, but consistency continued to dog him. So you'll excuse me if I don't think he's going to have a breakout type of year.Taylor had the best year of his Pitt career last season, but still only averaged a very modest six points and five rebounds a game. With a career shooting percentage hovering around 60%, Taylor's always been effective when he's gotten shots off around the rim. The problem is that he's never been particularly aggressive over a long span of time and has never been as involved in the offense as he's needed to be. Couple that with Pitt's struggles to get the ball inside and that's led to fewer minutes and, ultimately, fewer shots.
The most frustrating thing about Taylor? Well, besides not living up to the McDonald's All-American hype, it's definitely that he hasn't really improved all that much. He did, I think, get noticeably better between his freshman and sophomore years, but kind of flat-lined last season. Pitt big men generally progress over their careers and that really wasn't the case with Taylor.
At this point in his career, there's really not much hope that he'll will break out this season. That's particularly true with Steven Adams coming in and Talib Zanna starting to emerge. A redshirt junior, Zanna has already shown more than Taylor and, of the trio, Taylor may be in for the least amount of time.
That's not to say he can't play a vital role, though. As the presumed backup center (and maybe even the starter for a while), Taylor will be needed. He's a solid rebounder and when he's active, can even be a bit of a high-energy guy with easy putbacks and dunks. Don't look for him to have a monster year this season, but you can expect him to provide some solid minutes.