Taurus Samuels’ mother, Maybel Nicolas, drives from their home in San Diego to Los Angeles for work most days. The nearly two-hour commute is one of the many sacrifices Samuels said his mother has made for him and his basketball career.
“She is for sure a competitor,” Samuels said. “She doesn’t play sports but she is a single mother and she commutes pretty far for work. So to see her make a lot of sacrifices for me to be able to play basketball … That definitely motivates me to make sure that I am always giving my all for her because I know she’s making a lot of sacrifices for me.”
Samuels, a three-star PG from Vista (Calif.) currently holds scholarship offers from UC Davis, Cal Poly, Northern Arizona, Cal State Bakersfield, Montana, and Colgate. Searching for a school to fill to fill his academic needs, as well as his athletic desires, he said he plans to take official visits in June and potentially make a decision in the summer. With a 4.4 GPA, Samuels has taken his studies just as seriously as basketball.
“I think education is big,” Samuels said. “I’m not too sure yet what I want to do, but I know at some point basketball is going to stop for me. So I really want to have a respectable degree to fall back on to be able to get myself a good job and support myself.”
“He is in a different class with how high his academic grades are,” Charlie Mercado, his club basketball coach, said. “I get a little tired just thinking about the classes he takes, the homework he has, the work he puts in with basketball. Sometimes I scratch my head thinking is there enough time in the day for him to do all that and get it done, but he somehow finds a way to get it done.
Samuels has followed his mother’s lead on how to be a hard worker.
“I’m thinking he sees me working and I have to get up and make sure that I can provide for him,” Nicolas said.
Mercado has had the luxury of coaching Samuels for several years with Gamepoint Basketball, his club basketball program. Although he said that Samuels split time early on playing basketball and football, Mercado added that there was something different about him when he first came to Gamepoint.
Once Samuels fully committed his time to playing basketball, he was able to hone his skills and work to strengthen his weaknesses.
“One of the things he struggled with early was the ability to shoot the ball and that’s something we’ve worked a lot on, especially his midrange game,” Mercado said. “His midrange pullup and his midrange game is as best as anybody in this area. I’ll even probably go as far as to say that part of his game is as good as anybody in the state of California.”
In his free time, Samuels stays with Gamepoint, working with younger players.
“He’s a good kid, he’s a good role model for the younger kids in our club that look up to him,” Mercado said. “He takes pride in that. He does a phenomenal job in everything he does.”
As Samuels nears a decision on his future, he and his mother both emphasized the importance of an opportunity to play college basketball.
“It would be like a dream come true because he loves basketball and he works so hard for it,” Nicolas said.
“If I were to be able to play at the college level, especially on a scholarship, that would mean so much to me, just knowing that she is doing everything she can to make ends meet,” Samuels said.