It’s never fair to compare one player to another, especially when they played in different eras. But the best way for Syracuse fans to understand what they’re getting in Justin Taylor is to do just that.
At 6-foot-5, 180 lbs, Taylor will remind Orange fans of Andy Rautins. The 2010 All-Big East selection stood at the same height with 15 more pounds of muscle, but Taylor has plenty of time to catch up.
It’s not a perfect comparison. Rautins relied a lot more on the three-point shot than Taylor does. That’s because Rautins had a better shot than Taylor. The Class of 2022 stud has the ability to score from three levels, as Rautins did. The difference is tendencies and preferences. Those will take shape for Taylor at the next level when Boeheim figures out what he needs from Taylor.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but to be compared to Rautins is a compliment to Taylor, whose ceiling is a lot higher. Rautins averaged 12.1 points per game by his career best senior year. Taylor should contribute at a similar clip from the jump.
Like Rautins, Taylor isn’t the most skilled passer, but distribution will come when the shots fall. His highlight tape shows a lot of passing off of double teams. For the most part though, he’s a finisher.
Then there’s the defensive end, which is another fascinating part of Taylor’s commitment. He can play on the wing and on top of the Zone. It will really just come down to what Syracuse needs from him, and who is around him. Since small forward Kamari Lands is committed for the same class, expect Taylor to slide into the shooting guard spot.
The biggest difference between Rautins and Taylor has nothing to do with their games, but who will be around them. With Lands, Taylor is the cornerstone of a revamped Syracuse recruiting scene. When Rautins came in (2005), the Orange didn’t have depth with him. It was four-star Eric Devendorf and the 201st rated prospect Arinze Onuaku, according to 247 Sports, with the dark cloud of Andray Blatche’s decommitment. Unlike Rautins, Taylor is helping Syracuse forget about their decommitted five-star.