1-on-1: Theairra Taylor

Nov. 4, 2013

In our countdown to the start of the 2013-14 hoops season, we will feature all 11 Hawkeyes. Today, we feature lone UI senior Theairra Taylor.

Taylor is a redshirt senior from St. Paul, Minn. The former Central High School standout wears No. 23 for the Hawkeyes. Taylor (5-foot-11) started all 34 games last year and was named Iowa’s Most Improved Player.

Iowa opens the regular season Friday, hosting UC Riverside inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena in the Hawkeye Challenge at 6 p.m.

What is it like working with the coaching staff?
“It’s amazing. They always have an open door policy; you can go in their office and they are willing to talk, willing to hear new ideas. They are great coaches, as their records show.”

Key factor in recruitment:
“The sense of family in this program. And it’s funny; before I got injured I asked myself, “If I got injured, how would these coaches treat me?” Unfortunately I got injured, but I received the same treatment as if I was playing, and that was important to me.”

Facet of game you are working on:
“Finishing at the basket; that is definitely something that I need to improve on. I would get there and have the shot and then just clank it off the backboard, and I was like, “I can’t do that again.” People were talking to me and were like, “What’s wrong? You were right there.” So that’s something I have really worked on this offseason.”

Team goals:
“Big Ten championship is the main goal.”

Story behind your jersey number:
“My favorite player is LeBron (James). That was the only reason. He was No. 23 and I loved LeBron, so I was going to be No. 23.”

Pre-game ritual/superstitions:
“I meditate before the game. My roommates heard me meditate before a game and gave me a hard time for it, but it’s something that I like to do. Occasionally, I like to dance. I know this team is really good at dancing this year, so I might just let them take over and pass the baton down. Claire (Till) is the best dancer on the team. She has some moves and can break it down.”

Summer free time:
“I like to hang out with my family. My family is here in Iowa City. They moved down here to support me when I was down with my injuries. I like to go to the movies and hangout with teammates. There is a lot to do here and it’s a fun group of girls.”

Why did you choose the University of Iowa and the Hawkeye basketball program?
“It felt like home, the team and coaches are like my family. It is a great school and program with a great fan base.”

Hobbies: Hanging out with friends and family, watching movies and playing video games
Other Sport: track
Male Athlete: LeBron James and Adrian Peterson
Female Athlete: Serena Williams, Elena Delle Donne and Alex Morgan
Pro Team: Miami Heat and Minnesota Lynx
Movie: The Great Debaters and Finding Forrester
Restaurant: HuHot Mongolian Grill
Band/Musician: Drake, J. Cole, Rihanna, P!nk
Store: Scheels and Express
TV Show: Scandal, The Voice and MasterChef (junior edition)
Midnight Snack: cereal, Oreos, Gushers and Veggie Straws
Spot on Campus: Carver-Hawkeye Arena
City: Chicago