COLUMBUS, Ohio (KSNW) — The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is under a bubble, so to speak, in Columbus, Ohio as they get ready to tip-off this weekend.
That’s where you’ll find former Kansas Jayhawk guard Tyshawn Taylor in a much different atmosphere from when he played in the TBT last.
In August of last year, Taylor was a member of ‘Self Made’, a team chalked full of KU alumni. They took to the court in front of several thousand fans inside of Charles Koch Arena.
This year, Taylor won’t be playing in front of any fans, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If quarantining was an experiment, we’d be the lab rats,” said Taylor.
The 24 teams playing in the TBT this year have had to go through not just quarantining, but stringent testing for the Coronavirus as well.
“We’ve been getting tested pretty much every day since we’ve been here,” said Taylor.
It’s something he says is pretty surreal.
“Just to play some basketball right, who would have thunk that it would have came to this point, I mean I think under the circumstances the TBT did a good job of keeping guys secure and safe,” said Taylor.
Taylor has joined forces with the Stillwater Stars, a team mostly made up of Oklahoma State alumni.
It is another chapter in the basketball journey for Taylor, who spent four seasons in Lawrence with the Kansas Jayhawks from 2008-12. His team would finish runner-ups to Kentucky in his senior season.
Later that year, Taylor would be drafted by the Portland Trailblazers in the second round (41st pick) of the NBA Draft. He would later be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, spending two seasons with the team.
Ever since, Taylor has spent of his time playing overseas, his latest stop with the Saigon Heat of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
“I do love basketball that much actually, I’ll play as long as I can,” said Taylor.
His love and passion for the game now presents him with an interesting opportunity in this years TBT.
The field of teams was cut down from 64 to 24 teams. Instead of eight regional locations, there is now just the one in Columbus.
“It’s going to be a unique setup because there are going to be no fans and what not, so, I’m looking forward to just how its going to feel kind of intimate, like a pickup game,” said Taylor.
Basketball is something Taylor feels can be helpful during these unprecedented times.
“Just kind of take the eyes and ears away from the craziness for a little while and just be normal for a second, I guess be back to what makes us all kind of one,” said Taylor.
The TBT is set to take place from Saturday, July 4th through the 14th.
Taylor and the Stillwater Stars are set to hit the floor on Saturday against Brotherly Love at 4 p.m. CST.