It seems just like yesterday that James Young was finishing up his senior year at Rochester High School in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Now he’s a true freshman playing for the University of Kentucky under head coach John Calipari while currently averaging 14 points and four rebounds a game. While many Wildcat fans are happy with his production so far this season, they would be shock to know that during his high school career and college recruitment, Young was the subject of controversy and doubt when it came down to whether his game was over-hyped.
When it comes to his high school career, Young always stood out to fans and scouts but it was during his junior year at Troy High School, that I feel he really came into his own, where he averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals a game. He then transferred to Rochester High School for his senior year where he averaged 27 points, 16 rebounds and five assists a game.
Due to his impressive senior year, Young was ranked as the No. 6 prospect in his class by ESPNU Recruiting and the No. 10 prospect by both Rivals and Scout and given the opportunity to play in the Jordan Brand and McDonald’s High School All-American games. All while earning multiple offers from schools like Arizona, Kansas, Michigan State and Syracuse before deciding to commit and sign with Kentucky.
Despite all of that, he still receive controversy and doubts from some fans, scouts and even fellow players. However, I must say despite the controversy and doubt that has surrounded him, Young is continues to do a solid job of proving the doubters wrong while at Kentucky.
Michigan sports journalist and prep sports/college recruiting guru Scott Burnstein agrees with me:
Now when it comes to his game at Kentucky, he is mostly known for being a smooth left hand shooter, who makes living from downtown and in transition. If you look at his most recent stats, you will see why, since he is currently averaging six three-point attempts a game while shooting 31 percent from three. While he does have his rough shooting nights, no one can deny that he when gets going from three, he is a force to be reckoned with.
However, what most people tend forget about his game, is his ability to create his own shot and slash to the rim. At 6-foot-6, with a 6-foot-11 wingspan, Young has great length and it’s because of that length that he is a force when creating his own shot. He can put the ball on the floor, take his defender off the dribble and get to the rim or he can used his good elevation which allows him to create separation from his defender when he goes up for his pull-up jumper. Another underrated factor about Young is his unselfishness when it comes to sharing the ball, which is a plus when you consider the kind of scorer that he has been in high school and now in college.
Now, he still has plenty to learn, because he is still young and developing his overall talent. When it comes to his perimeter skills, I would still like to see him improve his ball handling skills, specifically his right hand ball handling. Most importantly, he must continue working on his shot selection and overall consistency of his game. Being able to score and score at a high level is great skill to have but being able to score at a high level and do it efficiently due to good shot selection and execution is an even more impressive skill set to have, which is what Young still must work on, as do most college players, especially freshman. I also want to see him continue to make an impact when he isn’t scoring well. As I mentioned earlier, being able to score is great but being able to make an impact in other areas like rebounding, defense or even passing, makes you an even better player, regardless of your score sheet. Young seems to do a good job of that and if he continues to do that, he will see good results from it.
Overall, I must say again that Young is doing a solid job at Kentucky despite the controversy and doubt that surrounded him during his recruitment and commitment to Kentucky and I am proud of him for what he accomplished so far. As the season goes on, I look forward to watching him get better every game. It’s still unclear on what his future will be after the season ends, some see him as a one-and-done freshman but I would personally like to see him stay for one more year before leaving for the NBA Draft but for now we will have to wait and see. However, for now, I encourage you to tune into Kentucky Basketball when you get a chance and watch Michigan native James Young because you certainly won’t be disappointed.
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Contributor for Radio One Detroit
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Kentucky Freshman and Michigan Native James Young Continues To Silence Doubters [Opinion] was originally published on wchbnewsdetroit.com