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All things considered, Tyshawn Taylor and Danielle McCray had a pretty good summer vacations. After a month away from Lawrence, the duo finally returned this week to Kansas sporting gold medals around their necks.
Taylor helped lead Team USA to a first place finish in the Under 19 World Basketball Championships in New Zealand, while McCray did the same for the women's team in Serbia.
Taylor, who led Team USA in scoring averaging almost 11 ppg, said if you hadn't known, you would have sworn the men's team had been playing together for years.
A big reason for that was how they spent their time away from the court.
"We were together all the time," Taylor said. "Like every time we left the hotel, it was all 12 of us together. I think I am going to stay in contact with those guys for a long time to come."
With basketball games and practices pretty much dominating Taylor and McCray's lives for the last month, they didn't have much of a chance for sightseeing. Both though did have their own culinary adventures.
" I tried the lamb and it was so disgusting," McCray said. " I stayed at McDonalds and KFC the entire time. Bonnie [Henrickson] probably wouldn't like that but I had to eat something."
"I went to McDonalds and ordered a double cheeseburger with just ketchup. So the guy gives me a bun with just two pieces of cheese and ketchup and no meat. I was so mad because I had walked away from the counter without checking. So when I went back to the hotel I had nothing"
Playing overseas also gave Taylor a taste of the professional game, as the rules were similar to the NBA's.
"Guys over there would take an extra step on their lay-ups," Taylor said. "The refs wouldn't call it and we kept calling travel. It helped me prepare for the next level because they wouldn't call it because you can get away with it in the NBA. I just found myself doing little things like getting physical with bigger guys."
As much fun though as the last month has been, Taylor was ready to return back to Lawrence. On his 15-hour trip to New Zealand last month, Taylor was stuck on the plane sitting next to a crying baby, so Taylor decided to bring out the sleeping pills on his journey back. Still, it wasn't enough.
"I was so excited to get back I couldn't even go to sleep," Taylor said.
Taylor and McCray both plan on taking a much needed break. Taylor, due to his rigorous basketball schedule hasn't lifted weights in more than a month and knows that it will soon be time to get back to work.
"I lost a couple of pounds that I didn't need to be losing but I am going to get in the weight room as soon as I can," Taylor said. "Still, I think I am going to take a couple days off and just relax."