I got a chance to speak with New Mexico State's latest two commits. The Aggies addressed some depth at the point guard with D.C. area native Ian Baker, who is enrolled at NMSU currently and recovering from ACL surgery from the summer.
NMSU also added another Canadian product, this time with 6-5 wing Matthew Taylor, who is from Brampton, Ontario but prepping at Future College Prep in Harbor City Calif., this year. Taylor announced his committment on Twitter last week. Has been described to me as a Daniel Mullings type athlete, but there is still work to be done with his game similar to Mullings. He could fill in nicely for Bandja Sy next year.
Baker played his high school ball at Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville Florida for three years.
"I had a pretty decent time down there. I won two state championships down there," he said.
Baker committed to Providence last May, but never enrolled for two reasons, qualifying and the knee injury.
"I tore my ACL that June and was supposed to get surgery during summer school but didn't realize I was going to have problems with the Clearinghouse so basically they took the scholarship away in late August. That backed the surgery up until September. Three months out of surgery and the leg feels strong. I know I still have a little time left of rehab. That's another reason I'm happy to be in school because I am able to rehab more than what I was getting at home."
Baker said he met Marvin Menzies through a mentor in D.C.
"My mentor told me he wanted me to meet somebody and that is how I met (Menzies). He has recruited me ever since."
Baker said he expects to be cleared by next season. Typically a player who isn't qualified has to go through two semesters, not including the summer, before being qualified, which would mean he could suit up by January by the latest.
"I'm not worried about it. I'm more worried about my knee and the Clearinghouse will take care of itself. If the waiver goes through the Clearinghouse, I may be able to play right away."
Here is a youtube video of Taylor. Another little description from his prep school's website.
Taylor had a laundry list of offers including USC and San Diego State. He told me he never committed to USC. But like other Canadian players even on the Aggies roster, like Tyrone Watson, Sim Bhullar and Daniel Mullings, Taylor came to the US before stepping on a college court. Unlike those three Aggies, Taylor opted to attend a prep school to further polish his game after four years at Chinguacousy Secondary School in Brampton, Ontario.
"I started basketball late. The first year I played was grade 9 in high school. I went to a couple camps in 8th grade but I was not good enough. In four years, I wasn't exactly tuned enough and thought it would be a better option to prep school in America. I wanted to get used to it and learn more about the game."
Future Prep is 38-8 this year with Taylor scoring 13 ppg with 10 rpg. He has been in double digits 30 times this year with 20 double-doubles against elite competition including 10 junior colleges.
When I spoke to Taylor, he was getting ready for a 6 hour van ride for weekend games in Arizona.
"We have two Canadians on our roster. Canada produces really good talent," Future Prep coach Les Bean said. "Canada produces good talent who understands the game. The education system is different from the States and a lot of them can't get eligible through the NCAA. Matt and other kids made the change to find a way to get their books together."
For a player with so much interest, I asked Taylor why commit so early.
"I wasn't really looking for a big name school, just basically what I felt most comfortable with," Taylor said. "When Coach Weir came out and the more research I did, I felt it was the right time for me. I think I fit in well. They have a lot of pieces right now. I think I can rebound and defend and do the dirty work and just work my way into the rotation."
Not only Weir, but Taylor said he has a relationship with Sim and Tanveer Bhullar, which helped him commit to NMSU despite never setting foot on campus.
"They have always been an option," Taylor said. "I grew up with Sim Bhullar and have known of Tyrone and Daniel, who I have seen play. Sim's brother, Tanveer, told me about the environment and that the fans are supportive."