Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Roswell senior point guard Taymon Burrola has heard the whispers about how good he is. The remarks about whether he belongs in the elite company of basketball players in District 4-5A. Those questions can be put to rest.
The questions are no longer subjective or open for debate. Burrola’s high school career is finished, and what he did in a shortened basketball season is work — and that makes his senior season a major work of art. There should be a law against the robbery that was done not only against him but all seniors this year.
Taymon focused on improving his speed for his senior season. After a heartbreaking 54-49 loss to Onate, Taymon wanted to work on his quickness and going to his left because toward the end of the year, teams were starting to force him left. He also worked on his jumping.
Coming into the season, Taymon knew a lot of the offense and leadership would fall on his shoulders. In his junior year, he had guard Dominic Nava to help him with the scoring load. They made a dynamic duo and fed off each other.
“My senior class is special,” Taymon said. “The whole time we were little, we’d stick together when we went to travel ball tournaments together. We had a really good connection coming in. During quarantine we would shoot together and we knew we could have a special year as seniors.”
Support Local Journalism
Subscribe to the Roswell Daily Record today.
Support Local Journalism
Burrola completed a year where he finished in the top 50 in scoring for New Mexico all-time, and was in the all-time top 10 in free throws in makes and attempts. Burrola seemed to have been at Roswell for his whole career, but it was only the last four years that count in the record books.
He played as a freshman with his older brother, Tarren, for two years, and was coached by his dad, Moses “Dude” Burrola for four seasons. This season was the best of his career.
Many folks don’t know the dedication he showed when he had no reason to believe there would be a season — except New Mexico Activities Association Executive Director Sally Marquez’s promise that “We will play again New Mexico.”
Taymon kept his teammates together until the football players could gather their basketball legs under them and led the Coyotes to a 5-0 start. Roswell lost a showdown with the No. 1 team in the state, Cleveland, 76-62, but that was after an hour-and-a-half delay in the game.
Roswell started slow and was crushed the first half. “Dude” made an emotional plea to his players to win the second half and show them what Roswell basketball was all about. They did, outscoring the Storm 40-30 in the second half. Taymon scored 26 points in that game and was the only Coyote to score in double digits.
After that loss, Roswell went on another four-game winning streak. Roswell would go on the road and face the dangerous Hobbs team at their place. It was a game that the Coyotes could have easily let get away from them but they played with a fight that allowed them to win, 68-58. In that game Taymon scored 31 points and handed out multiple assists to give his team sole possession of the first place.
Another game that tested Roswell’s will was another district game on the road against Carlsbad in which it took them coming from behind. Roswell forced overtime with Taymon scoring 27 points as the Coyotes earned a 63-60 overtime victory.
For Taymon Burrola and the Coyotes and what they were about, it was a game against Hobbs. Roswell had gone into Hobbs and beat them a week earlier. This game would be an instant classic. The game saw Roswell go down by double digits and have to fight their way through foul trouble, fatigue, and rough play. Taymon sat out only one minute of the entire game.
Roswell climbed from out of the hole and Taymon was fouled with no time on the clock, on a 40-foot 3-point shot, as they trailed 78-75. Taymon made three free throws to force the game into overtime, where he scored five points to help win the game for Roswell 87-84.
“To me, he (Taymon Burrola) is probably the best player in the state,” Hobbs’ coach Shelby Reeves said. “I haven’t seen everybody play, but he is the best player in the state in my opinion. When I say the best player, we’re talking about him being an all-around player. He’s one of the smartest players. If his shot is not falling he knows to go inside and get his points.”
That win put Roswell 9-0 overall, 4-0 District 4-5A. Roswell would make it to the semifinal game and lose in a close game 68-64 to Las Cruces at home. In that game Taymon would score 24 points.
“Taymon Burrola is good,” Tigers coach William Benjamin said. “He’s strong and knows how to get to the line. He does a great job of drawing fouls.”
Roswell would end their season 10-3, with Alonzo Acosta making first-team all-district 4-5A, and Rhett Stokes making second-team all-district. Taymon would go on to make first-team and be named Most Valuable Player in the district.
“Taymon is the type of kid that does what he needs to do,” his dad, “Dude” Burrola, said. “That night he hit those three free throws against Hobbs, he steps up there and knocked them down without any hesitation. You don’t see that very often.”
Taymon Burrola said that sometimes it is tough playing for his dad. That sometimes they would argue, but it is all love. Taymon knows that they are both trying to get the best out of each other and help the team win. Taymon said that his uncle, Chris Burrola, helped his development as well.
Taymon said that it was very special to play with his brother Tarren. Knowing that Tarren would love to spot up in the corners, Taymon knew that him being a safety valve was a relief. Taymon said that Tarren was the best shooter ever to come out of Roswell. Both players worked relentlessly to be the best they could be.
“Playing with my brother for two seasons is a special memory,” Taymon said. “Playing in The Pit my freshman year was special. My other favorite memory was beating Hobbs twice this year.”
Taymon said that him playing travel ball as a freshman gave him the confidence that he could play with top competition. His team put him in when they were behind the summer he was a freshman, and he hit three 3-pointers and helped his team win — and that gave him the confidence to know he could play at the highest level.
“I respect everyone,” Taymon said. “I don’t fear anyone. I work so hard in my preparation that I think I could play with anyone.”
With the COVID-19 fallout going on, most of the college scholarship money has already been spoken for to the players that are coming back another year. The NCAA granted seniors and all athletes another year of eligibility. He does have teams looking at him in basketball and baseball. Either way, he will have his choice at playing at the next level in basketball or baseball in college.
Taymon said making all-state would not be possible, or mean anything, without his mother, Denise.
“She’s done everything,” Taymon said, “she is the main one that has helped us with everything. She’s always supportive and goes to every single game, even out of town. She does everything. Without her, it would be really hard. She (Denise) keeps us focused. She keeps us humble and really special. I wouldn’t trade her for anything.”
There is a lot left for Taymon. He could be named Player of the Year. He was nominated for Gatorade Player of the Year. Once he is done on the hardwood, he would like to be a chiropractor or physical therapist.
“As a dad,” “Dude” said, “Nothing was ever given to my kids. They (Tarren and Taymon) get everything they deserve. They were dedicated to go to the gym by themselves and put the work in. I’m proud of my sons.
“Coaching both of my kids is what I have worked for. It has been my goal and what I worked for, to coach my kids. My kids have had great teammates that have helped them get to where they have gotten to in life.”
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.