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Matt Piper and Kyle Goon
Matt Piper and Kyle Goon cover University of Utah sports teams for The Salt Lake Tribune. Matt Piper is on twitter at @matthew_piper, Kyle Goon is on twitter at @kylegoon

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Signee Brandon Taylor had Ute ties before he knew it

Everything Brandon Taylor knew about the Utes, he didn't even know he knew.

The point guard, who signed with Utah and coach Larry Krystkowiak on Wednesday, grew up in Southern California participating in the Pan-Pacific Recreation Complex, where former Ute and NBA player Jerry Chambers coordinates events.

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"He watched me grow up," Taylor said. "We have a really, really good relationship. I never knew that he went to Utah. It was just amazing."

He added: "We talked and it kind of touched him a little bit, and it touched me, for me to be like, 'I'm going to the same exact school he went to.' It's a beautiful thing."

Taylor entered his senior year at Pacific Hills High School lightly recruited and without an offer.

Throughout a senior year in which he ultimately led Pacific Hills to a state championship and averaged 19.8 points, 7.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game, he garnered attention from St. Mary's, Tennessee Tech and Cal Poly.

And then came the Utes. Krystkowiak said in a radio interview Thursday that the first time he saw Taylor play the guard scored 34 points.

Taylor said he was shopping with his grandmother when he first got a call from assistant coach Demarlo Slocum.

"I ran out the store and forgot everything I was doing and paid attention to everything he was saying," Taylor said. "My grandmother was like what are you doing?"

Taylor said that on his visit to Utah he got to know the players from last year's team, including transfer point guard Glen Dean, who is the expected starter at the position. Taylor said he was excited to play with a guard who is similar to him in style - not to mention stature.

"He has an attitude like of a big brother," Taylor said.

On the whole, Taylor said he just clicked with the program.

"I have a really good relationship with the coaches," Taylor said. "I have a good relationship with the players. I feel like I can be myself around these people. I believe that is key for these next four years: I don't have to change my game, I don't have to change myself, I can just remain who I am."

— Bill Oram

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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