By Jeff Goodman
CINCINNATI - No one knows Travis Taylor.
OK, maybe that's a stretch. However, Xavier's junior forward - sat out last season after transferring from Monmouth - is a complete mystery.
Sure, there were other schools that went after the 6-foot-7, 220-pound New Jersey native when he opted to take his 17.8 points and 7.6 boards out of the Northeast Conference.
Boston College, Temple, Miami and Arizona State were just a few.
But transfers - just like high school seniors who wait out their recruitment - are almost always recruited at a higher level than should be the case.
He's literally become the "X" factor for Chris Mack and the Musketeers.
Already regarded as a program built on toughness and guys with a chip on their shoulder, Taylor could be the poster child for Xavier basketball.
He didn't start playing organized basketball until his junior year of high school. Taylor had a bunch of Division 2 offers before Monmouth came in late.
I'd be surprised if Taylor doesn't start at power forward from Day One for Mack. His game is awkward, but he's a big-time athlete who possesses a relentless work ethic on the court.
"I'm a gnat around the rim," Taylor said of his game. "I just never stop."
"He's going to make a real impact," said Xavier star guard Tu Holloway. "He brings a warrior mentality - which is something we need."
"Since I've been here, we haven't had anyone like him up front," added Mark Lyons, Holloway's backcourt mate.
Taylor, who shed the dreadlocks he sported while at Monmouth, said he isn't concerned about winning a starting spot on a team that has no shortage of depth and talent. That what matters to him is winning.
Xavier could do plenty of that with the veteran backcourt of Holloway and Lyons, freshman Dez Wells, Taylor and big man Kenny Frease (as long as he gets his act together).