'Bows assistant is well traveled
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
Benjy Taylor is willing to travel around the country to find players for the University of Hawai'i men's basketball team.
It should help that he's already been around the country.
Taylor was officially named an assistant coach for the Rainbow Warriors yesterday, the latest addition to head coach Gib Arnold's staff.
Taylor was the head coach at Chicago State for the past three seasons, but was released from that position last month. Prior to that, he was an assistant coach at seven different NCAA Division I programs from 1989-2007.
"People think my strength is in Chicago, because that's where I've been the past few years," Taylor said. "But I'll go wherever it takes to find the right players for the University of Hawai'i. I can go to New Orleans and recruit because I've coached at Tulane; I can go to Indiana and recruit because I've coached at Indiana State ... I think that I recruited in a lot of different places and made a lot of contacts, and that's only going to benefit Hawai'i."
Arnold and Taylor were assistant coaches at Pepperdine during the 2000-01 season. They have remained friends ever since.
"Benjy will be a great asset for us," Arnold said. "As soon as I heard about his situation at Chicago State, I thought he would be a great fit for us. I called him at 2:30 in the morning and he actually answered his phone. We started talking right there to get him on board.
"He's born and raised in North Carolina, so he's got connections there. And, of course, he's been in Chicago, so he's got connections there."
Taylor already has a recruit in line for 2011.
His oldest son, Tyler McDaniels, is a standout player at Lake Michigan College.
McDaniels, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 17.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a freshman last season.
"Once he heard I was headed out to Hawai'i, he got excited and said he wanted to come, too," Taylor said. "So that's the plan right now."
Taylor compiled a 39-53 record in his three seasons at Chicago State. Included in that stint was a 19-13 record during the 2008-09 season — the first winning season for the program in 23 years.
"He had one of the toughest jobs in America at Chicago State and did better there than anyone's ever done there," Arnold said. "He's very good at what he does."
Taylor is no stranger to the Stan Sheriff Center. He has been to Hawai'i three times in recent years as an opposing coach: 2004 when he was an assistant at Indiana State, and then in 2008 and 2009 when he was head coach at Chicago State.
"Those trips were all work, work, work," Taylor said. "So I've been to Hawai'i before, but I've never really seen Hawai'i. Now that I've been here for a couple of days, I see what a great place this is and how it can really help us in recruiting."
Taylor and his wife, Wendy, have three other children: Otto (9 years old), Ostin (6) and Olive (2).
Taylor is the second new coach named to Arnold's staff. Walter Roese was named the associate coach last month.
There is still an opening for one more assistant coach, but Arnold said he does not expect to fill it until later this summer.