It’s not every day that fans see a basketball player jump clean over a defender in a live game.
But Marlon Taylor isn’t an everyday player. A junior college transfer, Taylor is now a key perimeter player for LSU coach Will Wade, who wanted the team to be more athletic and longer on the wing in 2018.
Taylor fits the bill at 6-foot-5, 210 pounds with a vertical so high he doesn’t even know the official measurement. Junior guard Skylar Mays went as far as describing Taylor as the most athletic player he has ever played with.
Whatever his vertical is, it was high enough to jump over Southeastern’s 6-foot-3 guard Jeremiah Saunders when Taylor tried to finish an alley-oop during the first half of No. 23 LSU’s 94-63 victory over the Lions on Nov. 6.
“I saw the replay and I was like, ‘Ohhh gosh,’” said freshman forward Emmitt Williams.
Taylor, who finished with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and 4-of-6 from the free throw line, wasn’t sure he actually jumped over Saunders until Williams confirmed it to him on the bench.
“I was just doing what I do,” Taylor said. “I don’t know what to say. I was just out there playing — having fun.”
Williams tried to get in on the action as well. He had two dunks in the game, but his most memorable play, much like
Taylor, might have been a missed dunk in the first half. Williams attempted an ambitious put-back dunk when he went up over six players — including two teammates in Taylor and freshman Darius Days — on a missed three-point shot.
While the freshman tries to get the crowd on its feet with highlight plays when he is in the game, he does his best to get his teammates on their feet when he’s out of the game.
“My goal is to be the best guy on the bench for reactions,” Williams said. “I love my team — they’re so amazing. We’ve got guys like Naz [Reid] at 6-10 pushing the ball. Then we have guys like Tre [Waters] shooting deep threes.
“But when I’m on the bench, I just want everybody to get active on the bench with me. If everybody matches my energy, you can’t stop us.”
Southeastern certainly failed to stop Williams on Nov. 6. He corralled seven offensive rebounds along with three on defense to go with 12 points in his debut.
“Of course,” said Williams when asked if attacking the offensive glass is a mindset. “As you can see that’s what I am here for — to rebound. I’m the engine guy. I didn’t even know I had seven offensive rebounds. When I see the ball, I go get it.”
The attitude Williams and Taylor bring is infectious among the players and the crowd.
Although they both failed to finish their highlight dunks, expect to hear the fans gasp in excitement the next time the two try to put a defender on a poster.
So, who does it first? Williams already knows.
“I just hope it ain’t one of us under there.”