MEMPHIS, Tenn.—Camren Taylor has spent virtually his entire life as a multi-sport athlete, most notably on the football and basketball circuits.
Nothing, he says, will ever top basketball.
“I like basketball more than I do football,” Taylor told Bleacher Report during a recent interview.
To get a thorough understanding out why Taylor has gained a fond admiration for hoops, look no further than his continuous rise on the court in recent years.
Despite missing his entire freshman season for Memphis’ Lausanne Collegiate School—the same institution that produced Memphis Grizzlies All-Star Marc Gasol—Taylor was as good as advertised.
To his credit, he reaped the benefits of his solid display.
During the Lynx’s TSSAA Division 2-A state title run two seasons ago, for instance, the 6-foot-2 swingman performed superbly as an eighth grade varsity player for a team that finished the year with a 25-5 mark.
With that came an array of accolades for a newcomer who has already been dubbed a three-star recruit by TNPrepHoops.com and Future150.com.
Among the honors, Taylor was rated the No. 7-ranked newcomer in the state by Future150.com and the 68th overall prospect for the Class of 2017.
In addition, he was named to the Memphis Commercial Appeal’s Boys Basketball Impact List for the Class of 2017. Also, he was named Most Valuable Player of Memphis’ Competitive Basketball League (CBL) in 2010 and has made his presence felt on the AAU circuit in recent years, particularly with the Memphis Pharaohs, Memphis War Eagles, Team Penny and Mike Miller's M33M AAU programs.
Currently, Taylor is ranked as the No. 20 prospect for the Class of 2017 by TNPrepHoops.com.
While his basketball prowess has been well-documented in recent years, this past year had been somewhat tumultuous for a kid whom many believe boasts a bright basketball future.
Last year, Taylor developed Osteochondritis Dissecean (or OCD). OCD is a condition of the knee in which a piece of the bone (or cartilage) separates from its surrounding area and lacks blood supply. The bone then becomes loosen and eventually cracks.
According to Taylor’s father, Toby Taylor, his son developed this injury over about a “two-year period” without any symptoms until he was at a basketball workout last summer and witnessed his knee buckle. Consequently, he developed severe pain and swelling at that time. An MRI later confirmed the diagnosis.
For Toby Taylor, the news of his son’s injury was difficult to stomach, in large part because Camren had started to earn the reputation as one of finest up-and-coming high school players in the Shelby-Metro area.
“As parents, this was disappointing because he would be out of sports for an extended period of time,” Toby Taylor explained. “Sports have been a huge part if our life since he was three years old playing recreational sports. He started playing competitive basketball at 10 years of age. He had skills training five to six days a week since the age of 10 until his injury when he wasn't playing. We were hurting because we knew he was hurting and disappointed as well.”
Luckily for Camren, his basketball future wasn’t put in jeopardy, although he was sidelined as a freshman for Lausanne. Nowadays, he is recouping comfortably from his injury and has even begun taking part in individual workouts.
“I have just finished up physical therapy a few weeks ago,” Camren said. “Now I go to the gym everyday and get on the elliptical for 30 minutes. After I get done with that, I lift weights. First, I do arms then I do legs. When I do legs, I do more on my right leg then left so I can get it just as strong. Then after that, I go to the gym and put up 100 free throws each day. I will be doing this until I am able to run and jump again.”
Although doctors held Camren out of AAU action this summer, he is expected to resume full contact drills in the coming weeks.
Despite an injury that sidelined him last season, recruiters did not back off from showing interest. According to Toby Taylor, Camren has generated interest from Arkansas State, Xavier and nearby Union University. Camren is expected to make a full recovery and boasts aspirations of playing at the collegiate level.
“If I earn a college scholarship in basketball, I will feel like all the hard work has paid off,” Camren said. “The ultimate goal is to get my education. And I will be able to further my education without using my parents’ money.”
Spoken like a true freshman, one who’s destined to have a huge impact, even in his household.
Andre Johnson is regular contributor for Bleacher Report. Based in Dallas, Texas, Johnson also covers the NBA Southwest Division. To reach Johnson, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.