by Mike Magers
Jeff Taylor, Sr. is a former NBA player having played two seasons in the league, one with the Houston Rockets and another with the Detroit Pistons.
He grew up in Hobbs and was a key player on Eagle teams coached by the legendary Ralph Tasker. Jeff’s sophomore year was 1975-76 and Jeff came on strong. His team went 22-5. In the state tournament, they defeated Mayfield 82-81 and then Albuquerque High by a score of 96-92 before dropping the championship game to Las Cruces 110-96. Jeff played in 27 games and averaged 14.7 points per game, scoring 396 points.
His junior year was 1976-77 and would see Jeff average 20.0 points per game in 28 games, scoring 560 points. The Eagles went 23-5. In post season play, Hobbs would beat Clovis 92-81 and defeat Valley by a score of 100-83 before losing to Albuquerque High by a score of 72-70.
Jeff’s senior year was 1977-78 and this was a team that would go on to set several school and state records. The team would win 26 games against 3 losses. Jeff would average 25.6 points per game, scoring 409 in only 16 games, but suffering a broken leg on January 17, 1978 against Carlsbad. Less than a week earlier on January 13, 1978, the Eagles set a state record for most points scored that still stands today by downing Roswell by a score of 176-49. Other state records set were 81 field goals made in a game. The Eagles’ 84 rebounds would tie the state record and the 66 assists would set a school record. In that game, Jeff was the second leading scorer with 40, just behind Steve Smith’s 43. Despite their scoring ability, the team would lose in the playoffs to Albuquerque High 92-84 without Taylor.
Jeff signed with Texas Tech where he was a four year starter for the Red Raiders under long time coach Gerald Myers. While at Texas Tech, his teams would achieve records of 19-11 in 1978-79, 16-13 in 1979-80, 15-13 in 1980-81 and 17-11 in 1981-82. The Red Raiders would play in the NIT his freshman season, losing in the first round. Jeff’s record at Texas Tech is as follows. In 115 games, he logged 3,538 minutes played, scored 560 field goals out of 1,100 attempts, make 304 out of 390 free throws.
Jeff was the 42nd player chosen in the 1982 NBA draft, being taken by the Houston Rockets where he would play one season. He played his final NBA season a few years later on the Detroit Piston club. He played a few more years in Sweden, where he now resides. His son Jeff has played several seasons in the NBA.
Acknowledgement: Hobbs Eagle statistics are from Rick Shed’s fine book, Hobbs Basketball: By the Numbers.