Up until before the team got on its flight Tuesday, the tone had been much more somber. A heart condition, in which Taylor sporadically feels his heart rate increase and has to check himself out of games, threatened to end his career.
Earlier this week, Taylor saw a cardiologist for a battery of tests to determine if playing college basketball put him in danger. He had not practiced since the team's regular-season finale against UNLV, and head coach Tim Duryea revealed this week that Taylor played against the Rebels with a heart monitor on so the school's medical staff could keep an eye on his condition.
"It was something that I've had for a while, but I feel like when I really started thinking about it more was — I mean, I was up at practice when Danny Berger went down a couple years ago," Taylor said. "Ever since that, I've been paying more attention to my heart."
Berger collapsed and his heart stopped during a USU practice in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in December 2012. The training staff used CPR and an automatic external defibrillator to revive Berger. Taylor was redshirting the season Berger collapsed, then spent two years on a Mormon mission to Brazil before returning to the team last season.
This season, Taylor played in all 29 regular-season games. He averaged 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Taylor received clearance on Tuesday, but hadn't gone through any of the prep on San Jose State leading to Wednesday's game. In the team's hotel lobby, Duryea and Taylor walked through new plays the team put in during the time Taylor was sidelined.
"The whole team obviously loves Quinn," Duryea said. "He's a great teammate, besides being a very key component of our team. … He was big in the second half. He kind of makes things work. He's a facilitator, both ends of the floor. He talks on defense constantly, and, offensively, he's great at making his teammates better in subtle ways."