DePaul's Young Set for Sophomore Campaign

Brandon Young's freshman campaign was a bittersweet one, at best. While he averaged 12.6 points, started every game, and claimed an All-Big East Rookie Team selection, the Blue Demons struggled, finishing the season at 7-24.

All was not lost, though, as the team -- especially Brandon Young -- gained valuable experience. Now, with his second season right around the corner, Young is ready to put those lessons in play and avoid the proverbial sophomore slump.

"I learned that you can't force a lot of things and rush a lot of stuff," Young reflected on his first year. "You have to be patient and take your time and let the game come to you. This isn't high school, you can't get away with a lot of stuff. In college, they do film and study, so you've got to prepare yourself the right way."

His role as point guard and leader -- with a handful newcomers to help accommodate -- is to pass on that information, and Young will be looked to for guidance, no doubt. His chief advice thus far is more like a fair-warning.

"Get ready to battle," Young cautioned, "Because every day is a battle, and you have to be mentally prepared for it. In the Big East, there's no days off, every game you play is gonna be a good and competitive game."

Such is why Young and company have been hard at work in the off-season. As many others associated with the program have expressed general optimism in recent days (though a number of injuries and NCAA rulings have scaled that back a bit), Young has, too. Certainly, the team should benefit from the 10-day trip to France they took this summer.

"The trip was a great experience," said Young of his first time across the Atlantic. "A lot of people don't get to do that. It was a blessing. For the team, we got a better bond, and chemistry with each other. The freshmen played great, and for myself, individually, it's just me progressing my game, getting better every day."

The Baltimore-native has been in the gym crafting and polishing his game on a personal level, as well.

"[I've been working on] making the right decisions, and my jumper, you know," said Young. "Trying to create for other people and knock down the open jumper when I have the opportunity."

Like Young, DePaul head coach Oliver Purnell is entering his second season as a Blue Demon, too. With a year under their belts, the always-important relationship between floor general and coach has steadily cemented.

"It's a great relationship," Brandon said. "He explains a lot to me. He doesn't just tell about things on the court, he gives me life lessons, building me into being a man. It's great, he wants the best for you and he looks out for you."

With his coach behind him, along with a solid cast of newcomers and returnees, Young is looking forward to continuing his personal success, while increasing the Ws in the team's win column this year, undeterred by last season's challenges.

"[My expectations] are about the same," he said. "We want to win and work hard every day. After the France trip, I got a feeling that we can really do some things in the Big East this year. "

"Every opponent," said Young when asked for a list of the opponent he's most looking forward to catching this season. "I'm a competitor, so whoever steps one court, and I'm playing against them, I'm gonna compete. So it's everybody."

Bring on the competition.

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