MOST valuable player Zaire Taylor praised the approach of coach Paul James following Worcester Wolves’ Wembley triumph.
Taylor stole the show with a 30-point barrage as Wolves defeated Newcastle Eagles 90-78 in the British Basketball League play-off final.
Worcester stunned their opponents by switching from a man-to-man defence to zonal for the first time this season and it worked a treat with the University Arena side blitzing the Eagles for a 14-point first-quarter lead, which ultimately proved unassailable.
Taylor revealed he persuaded James to deploy the strategy after sitting up all night studying footage of Newcastle.
But he said it is a mark of the Wolves chief’s credentials that he allowed his point guard to have a tactical input.
Taylor, who was also both the league and Worcester’s MVP, explained: “It feels good to win. It meant so much to all of us and I feel like we really needed this to close the season off the right way.
“It was the most important thing to me and it’s been consuming my thoughts. I’ve literally been up breaking down Newcastle’s strategy and play until practice the next day without going to sleep.
“They’re a team that lives off knowing what you’re going to do, they study you so hard. You’ve got to give them credit for that because knowing is half the battle, that makes them so effective.
“Coach Fab Flournoy pays attention to each team and how they play. I thought it makes perfect sense to do something different.
“Coach came up with the 2-2-1 press defence a week or two ago. I said let’s start the game like that – if they kill us then we could soon get out of it. We have been very successful, who would ever think a team that’s never run zonal once this year would do that in a final?
He continued: “The thing I love about the coach is that he’s the kind of guy that you can go to with an idea. He won’t do it because you said it but he takes into account what you say. If it makes sense he’ll do it.
“There are plenty of coaches who say ‘I don’t shoot the shots for you, don’t tell me what play to run’.
“What I love about PJ is it’s almost like he lets us all coach. To others it may seem chaotic but he’s got a very good hold on what he’s doing here.
“That’s what makes a great coach or leader – a great leader has to be a good follower to.
“I love playing for PJ and I really hope we keep this whole team together.”