ANDERSON — Troy Taylor is receiving an entirely unique basketball education these days.
The former Anderson High School star and three-time Herald Bulletin Boys Basketball Player of the Year is the self-described CEO for the Anderson Legends, a semi-pro team that hopes to begin play in the North American Basketball Development Leagues Association late next month.
Taylor’s involvement with the team began purely as a perspective player, but on Jan. 11 he was asked to expand his role. Now the 23-year-old University of Evansville graduate is out in the community seeking sponsors, recruiting teammates, hiring coaches and finding a home court for the fledgling franchise.
“Man, I don’t know what I’m doing,” Taylor said he told league officials when they asked him to run the Legends, “but I’ll do as much as I can.”
One thing Taylor knew he could count on was his hometown.
He’s drawn interest from former Indians Antwaun Boyd and DeJovaun Sawyer-Davis as potential players, and former AHS guards Kojak Fuller and Norman Anderson will lead the coaching staff.
Other potential Legends include former New Castle and Butler guard Chase Stigall and former Illinois center Jack Ingram, who have combined for three NCAA men’s basketball championship game appearances.
“I want to bring back that Anderson style of basketball,” Taylor said, “that style people remember seeing.”
That means an up-tempo, aggressive brand of play that tends to be a hit with fans. And Taylor hopes to draw a crowd to East Side Elementary, where the Legends will begin play.
The gym seats about 300, but Taylor’s looking at it as a test case. A recent league exhibition game in Chicago drew 3,000 fans. If demand exceeds capacity in Anderson, the team will look to find a larger arena.
Taylor also has some big goals off the court.
“This is not just going to be a team that’s gonna take, take, take,” he said.
To that end, he’d like to get the players involved in local food drives and other charity endeavors. And he’d like to speak with area elementary school children to let them know there are positive role models in their hometown.
“I’ve got a college degree,” Taylor said. “I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t use bad language. A lot of these kids don’t have anybody to look up to. They need somebody to look up to and say, ‘I want to be like him.’”
Those are the kinds of players Taylor will be looking for at an open tryout Feb. 1. The session will last from noon to 3 p.m. and be held either at the Anderson Sports Center or Lapel Middle School.
The Indianapolis Kings — another team joining the NABDLA or BDL, for short — also will hold a tryout Feb. 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. Taylor will attend both sessions and players at each tryout will be considered for either team.
The BDL currently has 16 teams in six states — including the Henry County Huskers in Greenfield. Teams make their own schedules and will primarily play franchises from their own region.
For the Legends, that will mean contests against the other Indiana franchises as well as teams in Ohio and Illinois. New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania also are represented, and the league hopes to expand into North Carolina soon.
One of the Pennsylvania teams already has requested a home-and-home series against the Legends.
“They’ve heard about the talent in Anderson,” Taylor said, “and they want to see what it’s all about.”
Each of the players who ultimately make Anderson’s roster will sign with an agency that has ties to seven NBA teams, every NBA D-League team, some 400 European teams as well as franchises in Canada. In June, the Legends will be invited to an exposure camp attended by international scouts seeking new talent.
Anderson’s regular season likely will begin Feb. 22 or Feb. 28 against Indianapolis. Between now and then Taylor will continue to seek sponsorship, find video interns and hire athletic trainers among other franchise necessities.
There’s a lot of hard work on and off the court ahead, but Taylor’s attacking it with his trademark enthusiasm.
“It’s gonna be fun,” he said.
Learn more Perspective players and fans can learn more about the Anderson Legends at the team's Facebook page (facebook.com/andersonlegends) and about the North American Basketball Development Leagues Association at the BDL's website (nabdla.com).