Purdue’s Taylor looks to contribute in Boston homecoming

Purdue junior forward Jacquil Taylor goes through drills during the Boilermakers open practice before their NCAA Sweet 16 game. (Brett Bensley March 22, 2018)

BOSTON, Mass. – With Isaac Haas likely out of Purdue’s Sweet 16 game, Jacquil Taylor is expected to fill some of his minutes and the junior couldn’t be any more excited.

“On a scale of 1 to 10… 12,” joked Taylor before the Boilermakers open practice in Boston on Thursday.  “Definitely a 12.”

Taylor grew up just 15 minutes from the TD Garden, the site of Friday’s NCAA Tournament game with Texas Tech.  The forward played his prep basketball across the Charles River at Beaver Country Day School in Cambridge.

“I’ve received a lot of text messages,” said Taylor about friends and family looking for tickets.   “My phone is just straight text messages from my family, but they are really happy for me and I’m really happy I get to play in front of my family too.”

Taylor expects to have about 20 family members in attendance this weekend.

Teammates say he was screaming after Purdue beat Butler in the second round to secure his homecoming.

“He’s been pumped since we got on the plane on the way here,” junior guard Ryan Cline said.  “I’m super excited for him.”

Taylor’s been healthy this year after missing three of the last five seasons with injuries.  He played seven minutes in the win against the Bulldogs, scoring two points and grabbing one rebound.

The Boilers and Red Raiders tip-off around 10 p.m. on Friday.  The winner will take on the Villanova-West Virginia winner Sunday for the chance to go to the Final Four.

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