Young Growing Up For Tigers

Junior college transfer Ian Young talks about his transition into major college basketball and learning the point guard position.

Auburn, Ala.--When Lewis Monroe went down in the preseason with a broken bone in his foot, the fortunes of the Auburn basketball Tigers seemed like they would go down with him, but that's when a newcomer stepped up and made his presence felt.

Junior college transfer Ian Young entered the program this season looking to make an impact at the shooting guard position, but because of Monroe's injury he has been forced to play the point and the move could pay big dividends for the Tigers down the road.

"The pressure and everybody coming at me is going to help me when we get into the SEC schedule," Young says. "I think it's good right now with me at the point because I'm dealing with so much now. When we get into the SEC I'll be ready.

"I expected it to be hard like it is," he adds. "The preseason was real hard and the games are a lot harder and a lot faster. There are a lot more athletic people as well. It's just more of a thinking game than going out there and just playing."

A physical 6-3 guard with the ability to take the ball to the basket or drain a jumper from the perimeter, Young has been solid this season playing both the point guard and shooting guard spots. Sharing time with senior Chris Lollar at the one and Nathan Watson at the two, he has had his share of ups and downs, but is enjoying his time on the court so far.

"I like playing both the one and the two," Young says. "I'm playing a lot more one now than the two, which is going to help me in the long run anyway. I would rather play the two than the one because it's a lot easier, but the one is okay. I just like being out there playing."

Ian Young is shown in action for the Tigers in an earlier exhibition game.

Averaging 11.3 points per game this season with eight assists and five steals in three games, Young has been very good shooting the ball. He has made 7-13 three-point shots this season and is shooting 90 percent from the free throw line. Despite his all-around good play, he still has to work on protecting the ball with 10 turnovers already this season. Young says that is something he works on constantly and is getting better in his decision-making.

"I don't want to turn the ball over," Young says. "I want to get us in the offense and do the little things right now. The rest of the stuff will come. If I listen to what coach (Cliff Ellis) says, don't turn the ball over and play defense then the offensive game will come and everything else will come. It's just me being fundamentally sound right now."

Something that has helped Young develop as a player since he's been at Auburn has been the rigorous practice routine the Tigers go through each day. Used to easier practices in high school and junior college, Young says he wasn't prepared for the work and effort needed to play Division I basketball in the SEC.

"It's so much different on this level," Young says. "Practice is two or three times harder than the games. In practice they prepare me for the game. Coach will have them pressure me running people at me. Sometimes it will be five on six so it's a lot harder than regular practice.

"It's tough in practice, but once the game starts and the ball tips off it's just basketball," Young adds. "It's easy after that. It's just going out and executing and me being confident that I will be all right."

After facing challenging games against The College of Charleston and Western Kentucky to open the season, the Tigers breezed through an easy victory over Maryland-Eastern Shore and should have another coming up Saturday night when they face the Grambling State Tigers at 7 p.m. in Huntsville. Auburn enters the contest at 3-0 while Grambling is 0-1 with a 83-36 loss at Georgetown to open the season and a game at Arkansas before Saturday's match-up. Young says that he's anxious to play away from home and continue the road towards SEC play with games against UNLV and Colorado State down the road.

"I want to play a road game so bad," Young says. "I'm just ready to play though. Anytime we have a game I'm ready. I think this schedule is going to prepare us well. We're playing against NCAA Tournament teams now. When we get into the SEC we'll be ready. We have so many new guys that we needed experience now. It's going to help us in the long run."


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