By Nikos Varlas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Maccabi moved swiftly and effectively. They signed the 29yearold American playmaker Taylor Rochestie for three years, offering him a contract that, for the club’s standards, constitutes an excess and shows what the club is expecting from him: to be a leader!
A classic case of a player whom the “God of basketball” did not endow with physical or athletic qualities, but generously gave him basketball instincts and talent! He was born in Huston, he spent the last three years of his college career at Washington State and even though he had a really good 4th season, he was not chosen in 2009’s draft.
That summer the European tour began. Maccabi is the 4th team in the Euroleague that he’ll be playing for and the 9th in total in his career in Europe! The journey was: Göttingen, Galatasaray, Alba Berlin, Le Mans, Biella, Caja Laboral, Siena, Nizhny and now the famous “people’s team”!
The unbelievable season
The 2014-5 season will always be Taylor Rochestie’s milestone. Because throughout that season he proved that he’s not just a good player. He’s an artiste of basketball, a guard with astonishing skills in execution and creation, with an additional element that is the most important of all. Leadership skills and with proof, over time and in depth during the season!
Wearing Nizhny’s jersey, in 21 games Taylor Rochestie accomplished the following: He emerged as the top scorer on average in the Euroleague (18.9p) and won the Alphonso Ford award. At the same time, he had 5.7 assists and the second best performance in Assist-Turnover Ratio behind Sergio Llull! His percentages? Amazing, if we consider his height (1m.85) and his lack of athletic ability. He executed with a 52% in two-point field goals and… 50% (53/106) in three-point field goals!
No team could manage to restrict him to single digit points and in 9 out of 21 times he scored more than 20! He registered a new record in the Euroleague with 15 assists against Efes and he got all of his Career Highs in the league this year! These highly impressive numbers would not have the same value if the team did not achieve important – for their own status quo – things. In their first participation in the Euroleague Nizhny outdid themselves over and over again, experienced some big wins and drove many of their opponents to their limits until they were able to beat them.
Maccabi, in basketball terms, could not have made a more ideal choice, and the same goes for the player himself! The style in which Rochestie can perform to the maximum of his abilities fits perfectly with the basketball style that Maccabi Tel Aviv represents! Pick and roll situations, 1v1 game, a lot of transitions and generally a lot of fast decisions and executions in offense. We are taking it for granted that the American will put up very good numbers with Maccabi and will give their loyal fans, but also all the fans of the Euroleague, very beautiful moments.
The key to success
On an individual level, he will definitely be productive. Maccabi signed him for a leadership role and how far he will be able to take the club will depend not only on him but also the players that he will have on his side! He is definitely going to need 1-2 good shooters along the wings, a forward at the ‘4’ position with the three-pointer as his trademark (like Bluthenthal) and a center like Alex Tyus. Who will have the speed and athletic ability to quickly immerse himself in the paint after the screen and dunk the balls that Rochestie will undoubtedly be serving in the right place, at the right time!