Over at SalukiTalk Extra! the chief blogger, a man by the name of TheBellevilleBobber, has an excellent read on the full story behind the fiasco that has become Diamond Taylor's basketball career.
Over at SalukiTalk Extra!, there tends to be a very vast and very strong knowledge of the ins and outs of Southern Illinois athletics. So it should come as no surprise to you that there is a very lengthy (but very well written and worth your while) summation of Diamond Taylor's story, all the way from his recruitment out of Westchester St. Joseph's on Chicago's north side to his current re-suspended state with the Salukis.
Some highlights from the piece:
With regards to his legal run-in during his first (and only) semester at Wisconsin:
According to court records, Taylor admitted to police that he and a teammate had been drinking, and then decided to go on a robbery spree at a university dorm. They went floor to floor, looking for unlocked doors. If they found them, they went inside and stole money and electronics.
There is a line on the police report where the arresting officer asks Taylor why the players did it. Here was his response.
"I really don’t know. We were drinking and stuff. I knew it was wrong and stuff. We were just being dumb."
Alright, freshman ignorance. He's a kid, fair enough. He moved on to SIU where Chris Lowery, the SIU coach who had recruited him straight out of high school, did his best - because he had to:
As soon as Wisconsin cut ties with Taylor, Lowery again picked up the chase. He convinced his bosses Taylor would be fine at Southern. This was not a rubber stamp deal. Lowery had to appear before the chancellor, and make his case. In fact, Lowery was asked to make “guarantees” that Taylor would not be a problem child. Lowery went to bat for Taylor; he knew the parents; he had recruited him hard. Lowery made the case, Taylor arrived, and all was well. In fact, for a program that was slipping, Diamond Taylor’s arrival became much anticipated.
That seems about right. Kid has an ugly set of baggage in tow, the school wants assurances that it is carry-on, not a 12-piece matched set. Bobber then goes on to mention Taylor's marijuana arrest last April, which the school didn't know about until five months later when the news broke on SalukiTalk.
Then came stealing bikes, and lastly comes the DUI, which as it turns out wasn't just driving under the influence, but rear-ending another vehicle in the process. Bobber talked with SIU's athletic director, who essentially told him that the driving force was avoiding APR penalties that could lead to further sanctions and unlimited transfer opportunities for current players, what the AD called a "death penalty."
The biggest surprise to me is the resolve that head coach Barry Hinson, athletic director Mario Moccia, and everyone involved has with making sure that Taylor has a happy ending to all of this. More power to them, especially if they succeed.