Taylor Hendricks is at last emerging from his shell and discovering a newfound sense of confidence in the NBA.

On the evening when Taylor Hendricks was chosen by the Utah Jazz as the ninth overall pick in June 2023, he conveyed a sense of astonishment following a whirlwind freshman year at UCF.

“Twelve months ago, the NBA wasn’t even on my radar,” Hendricks remarked. “It’s been quite the ride.”

While he possessed undeniable basketball skills, he lacked the refinement of some of his peers. Attending a non-powerhouse school and lacking extensive accolades or flashy highlight reels, Hendricks initially flew under the radar. However, as his time at UCF progressed, scouts and NBA executives began to take notice.

Hendricks’ raw talent, combined with his physical attributes of body, length, and athleticism, made him stand out. Despite this recognition from basketball experts, it was clear that Hendricks needed time, patience, and self-belief to realize his full potential in the NBA.

For an introverted individual like Hendricks, developing a sense of belonging can be challenging, requiring time to open up and reveal one’s personality. Alongside his reserved nature, Hendricks faced setbacks during his early months with the Jazz.

Initially sidelined from the Summer League due to a minor injury sustained during pre-draft activities, Hendricks then confronted the reality of transitioning from being a star player in high school and college to proving himself in the competitive landscape of the NBA. Instead of being the focal point, he had to embrace a more supportive role, willing to learn and adapt.

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