The NBA Draft is tonight and with it a lot of teams will have their fortunes change.
The draft will be shown live on ESPN and features Maria Taylor serving as the reporter for the draft coverage. This means Taylor will be interviewing the top picks after their selections, as we have seen before for draft coverage.
Taylor has been rapidly rising through the ranks at ESPN and appears to be on the cusp of becoming the network’s next big star.
Here’s what you need to know about Maria Taylor.
1. Taylor Will Be Interviewing Players After They Are Selected During Tonight’s NBA Draft
As we have seen in drafts before, the players are usually brought aside for a quick 30 second interview about how it feels to be drafted, what they can bring to their new team, etc.
This year, Maria Taylor will be interviewing the players, likely in a similar manner as we see in the tweet above.
The NBA has announced this year that the draft picks will no longer be tipped on social media but fans will instead have to wait until the picks are officially announced. A lot of this might have to do with Adrian Wojnarowski’s arrival to ESPN. Wojnarowski has become known in the past for “Woj Bombs” which was usually breaking news about something important in the sports world.
2. Taylor Has Been With ESPN Since 2013
Maria Taylor helped launch the SEC Network at ESPN which was a brand new network that focused on the NCAA’s Southeastern Conference.
Most of the talk around the SEC focuses on football but the network also covers baseball and basketball.
This past season Maria Taylor took over for Sam Ponder on College Gameday after Ponder departed for NFL Countdown.
Lately Taylor has been serving in a fill-in role for Michelle Beadle on ESPN’s morning show Get Up and there has even been chatter about from people who want her to take over permanently.
3. Taylor Was Named to the All-SEC Volleyball Team Three Times
Before Taylor joined the worldwide leader, she was a standout athlete in college.
From Taylor’s ESPN Bio:
Taylor attended the University of Georgia where she played volleyball and basketball for the Bulldogs. She was named to the All-SEC volleyball team three times and was also a member of the USA A2 National Volleyball team. She graduated from Georgia in 2009 with a degree in broadcast news. She returned to the University to pursue her Master of Business Administration which she completed in May of 2013. She is a native of Alpharetta, Georgia.
Of course you can tell Taylor was a good college player by her awards alone but here are her career match highs from her career as a Bulldog, according to her Georgia bio.
Career Match Highs
Kills 33, at Ga. Tech (9/7/07)
Attempts 80, at Arkansas (10/5/07)
Attack Pct. .739, vs. Grambling (9/2/05)
Assists 3 (2x), last vs. Miss. St. (11/4/07)
Aces 7, vs. UAB (8/25/06)
Digs 26, at Auburn (11/7/07)
Blocks 10, at Arkansas (10/5/07)
4. Taylor Had a Successful High School Volleyball Career
Before her successes in college, she had successes in high school that allowed her to be in position for college.
In high school Taylor was a member of the 2004 USA Volleyball Junior National A2 team. She didn’t just stick with volleyball but was actually a two-sport star with both volleyball and basketball.
In an interview with USA Today, Taylor spoke about the important of her playing two sports.
I think it’s important that you play everything as long as you can because you don’t know what your body is going to be like when you’re 13. I was still growing when I got to college. I was going to be super lean and long. By the time, I was in high school I was in more average height before I shot up.
The same thing could have happen in basketball. You could spend your middle school years into ninth grade to be a post, but then by high school you end up the same height as everyone else. Maybe you might have been better off as a libero in volleyball or playing soccer or field hockey. If you shut it down too soon, that’s not going to be possible.
I’m really glad I did both. You meet a whole new group of people, too. You have to learn to get along with a bunch of different crowds and how do you blend into different groups while still being a leader and standing out. It’s good way to get out of your comfort zone. It’s a good way to keep pushing and challenging yourself. It’s a good way to work different muscle groups. Volleyball made me more explosive for basketball and basketball helped my endurance for basketball. They cross-train each other a lot.
5. Taylor’s Goals Are To Reach The Highest Level of Every Sport
Most sports broadcasters dream of calling the Super Bowl or the World Series but the reality is few ever get the chance to do something like that. Maria Taylor aspires to do it all.
She spoke about it in an interview with USA Today.
I want to get to being at the highest level of every sport, the Super Bowl or Wimbledon. Doing women’s basketball and working the Final Four is like, “Yes, I’ve made it to the highest level of women’s basketball coverage and being at the national championship game and hosting halftime.” I want the same thing for football.
My goal is to be hosting a prime-time ESPN road show, whether it’s College GameDay or something similar. I don’t necessarily want to do news and information like SportsCenter. I like to where a crowd is behind you, an event is going on, maybe doing halftime of the event.
I’d also like to potentially do morning shows. I love sports but if one day, I wanted to do more than sports than I want to get into a morning show either on a network or even if it’s more local like in Atlanta or Charlotte.
Since that interview Taylor has made it onto College Gameday and is currently dabbling in morning shows.