Taytum Rhoades plays the 2-guard at Minnehaha in the winter. Surprisingly, she was just the 4th leading scorer on a truly loaded team at 10 ppg, but you may recall her breaking loose for 25 points against Sauk Centre in the state tournament last March.
And, she just finished a productive summer playing up a year for North Tartan’s 11th Elite team, and not only that but also showing that she can handle the 1-guard. That’s what she did for Tartan, frequently looking like the best player on a team otherwise made up of 2018s.
But, now she’ll be trodding a well-worn path from Tartan to the MN Fury, where she’ll play for the Fury’s flagship team next summer, the 2019 Elite (formerly the 2019 Blue). She’s following in the footsteps of Audrey Gadison (2018), Danielle Schaub (2017) and Madison McKeever (2016), and perhaps a few more that don’t come to mind right at the moment, who moved over from Tartan to the Fury for their final season of AAU ball.
If you’re looking for some kind of comparison, how’s this. Rhoades is now rated #25 among the 2019s and compares most closely to McKeever, who was rated #23 in Northstar Girls Hoops final 2016 player rankings, who led her high school team to a state championship and is playing college ball at South Dakota (8 ppg in 27 minutes as a freshman). We’re not saying she’s as good as Madison McKeever, but neither are we saying she’s not.
The scouting report on Rhoades includes: Fast. Quick. Aggressive. As a 2-guard she gets downcourt fast, often beating the defenses for breakaway opportunities. As a 1, she pushes the pace even as a smallish player facing opponents a year older than herself. At the next level, she’ll need more strength than what she has right now and an improved outside shot. But the instinct to attack, the basketball IQ, and the speed and quickness all make her someone to watch during two more years of high school and one more year of summer ball.
We caught up with Taytum and learned a lot of things about her that we didn't know. Thanks, Taytum.
When did you start playing ball?
I started playing in 2-3rd grade. I played on a YWCA team with both boys and girls on it. My mom got me started because she played in high school and college. She wanted me to try it out and obviously I loved it.
When did you realize you might be pretty good at it?
I think I realized it when I was in 5th grade and I was the point guard and no one could stop me with their defense. Now, obviously, people can stop me, but at that young age I just developed naturally the things a point guard does.
What do you do best to help your team win games?
I am very good at seeing the floor and finding my teammates. I love being able to make that one extra pass that will be wide open. I am also a pretty good driver, I can snake it through the defense and get a bucket.
What are you working to get better at?
I'm really working hard on a jump stop pull up right now, because that's essential for almost all players to have if the defense is defending the three or have big bodies down at the rim. I'm also working on my ball handling when it comes to getting double teamed on the full court defense. And, of course, always working on the agility of the feet so that my defense can be prime.
How do you compare high school and summer ball? What do you like about each?
I would say that AAU is more competitive, you get a team full of D1 athletes and they just know how to work together. In high school, players sometimes just want to play because it will be fun! Of course that's fine, but if you want to get to the higher level that's what AAU is for. What I love about high school though is that we can all see each other at school and then go down to practice together. You don't see your teammates as much for the AAU season. I do love that in the high school season you play all the competition and then you go to your tournaments for AAU and you see a few of the same people, and that's always fun!
Do you see yourself playing ball at the next level?
I do see myself playing in college, yes. I am not very far along the process yet, but talking to a few coaches. Hoping that this next high school and AAU season I will get a few more opportunities to play in front of some awesome coaches.
What will you be looking for in a college program?
The relationships with the coaches matters to me. I think I’m going to be looking for a good program, but also a good academic school where I can pursue my career.
Who will you be playing with next summer?
I am going to be playing with the Minnesota Fury 2019 Elite with Nick Storm.
What are your goals for this winter?
This year my personal goal would be to try and hit 1,000 points, but I can't do that without the help of my teammates. So I just want to be able to dominate with them because we work so well together. Also our goal as a team is to make it far in the state tournament.