Scouting Report: Nick Young

Nick Young, a gifted wing from Cleveland High in Reseda, CA, has a chance to be among the top players in the class of 2004...

We went to last night's championship game in the Hart tournament, featuring Bakersfield and Cleveland, primarily to get a look at a couple players on Bakersfield. But we came away from the game most impressed with Nick Young, 6-6 SG/SF Reseda (Calif.) Cleveland, who is awaiting a ruling on whether he'll be classified as a junior or a senior this year. The Cleveland coaching staff believes Young will likely win his appeal and be classified as a junior. If that's the case, Young will probably be ranked among the top wings in the West Coast class of 2004.

Physically, Young reminds us a bit of UCLA's Cedric Bozeman – with the same kind of rangy, yet muscular, body and in the way he seems to glide around the court. Like Bozeman, Young also has very big hands – he snatches rebounds and seems to get to any ball within his reach. He's a very good athlete as well – gets up well and deceptively quick.

Young is very skilled with the ball. We might classify him as a small forward, but his ball skills are such that we think he ends up a shooting guard. He made several very nice passes, finding teammates after beating his man off the dribble. He's a real threat when he gets in the lane, as his size and strength allow him to overpower defenders.

He's also very versatile – literally making plays from all over the court, inside and out, at both ends of the court. He posted up several times for easy scores, took people off the dribble from the wing and also knocked down a few jumpers. He has a good, not great, stroke from the outside.

We were impressed with Young's ability to play within a team concept. The game seems to come easy to him – you had the feeling he could take his man at will – but he gave the ball up frequently. Not surprisingly, Young was named MVP of the tournament.

It's unclear if Young would be academically eligible for D1 next year in the event that he's classified as a senior this season. If he's a junior, one would assume another year of solid grades – he's apparently doing well at Cleveland this year – would give him a better chance at qualifying. If that's the case, look for Young to get interest at the high major level.

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