Athletic Big-Man Richard Young

"I need to work on my perimeter game, free throws and develop softer hands. In the post I can always add more moves, but I do have a couple of good ones now. I know Coach Young will teach me some things." - Richard Young

RS - First of all, tell us where you are from and how you started playing basketball.
RY – I am from Ft. Meyers Florida and have been playing competitively since I was 10 years old.

RS - What is your current height and weight and have you tested your vertical recently?
RY – We just did our measurements and I am 6'9 and right at 222 lbs. My vertical jump is 33 inches.

RS - Please tell us about your junior college experiences?
RY - I have had to sit out a season, but I remember making it to the state tournament and we lost in the first round. I did make junior college all-conference both seasons I was there. I did play for Team USA and I remember playing Team Oklahoma and winning that game.

RS - Has it been frustrating sitting out a full year waiting for this moment?
RY - It has been real tough. When I am playing basketball it pushes you to stay eligible and on course to graduate, but when I was just sitting around it was really difficult to stay focused.

RS - Were you able to keep up with the team or see them play any during this last season?
RY - I was only able to see the team once when they came down to play South Florida (and won).

RS - Have there been any influential people who have helped you develop your game?
RY - I would say playing a lot of street-ball against older guys helped me improve and toughened me up. In high school I played for a different coach all four years so it was tough. In junior college it was easier and I was able to learn some things.

RS - Do you have any role models who you pattern your game after?
RY – Not really. I watch a lot of basketball, but I do not really get into all that too much.

RS - What is your most memorable moment as a basketball player?
RY – My first junior college game, period.

RS - So I guess your next most memorable moment will be your first appearance in a game as a Houston Cougar?
RY – YES, being here right now is like a dream come true.

RS - What other schools recruited you and why did you decide to attend the University of Houston?
RY - I had a lot of schools contacting me during my sophomore season, but many of them backed off when they saw I wasn't going to graduate. They thought I would go to division II and play, but I wanted to play division I and sat out a year so I could graduate. Houston was there before my sophomore season and during and always felt I was going to graduate and stayed with me the entire way. Nebraska was still there and wanted me, and Texas A&M tried to come in at the end once they saw I was going to graduate. I stayed with Houston because loyalty.

RS - What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the University of Houston?
RY - PHI Slamma Jamma

RS - What do you know about Tom Penders' style of ball and what are your impressions of his system?
RY – I don't know too much yet but from what I have seen so far, I love his style of play.

RS - Now that you have had a chance to meet your teammates this summer, what are your thoughts on the team?
RY – They are so competitive and I love the way they compete. It is not like some other places where there is one main guy and everyone feeds off him. Just because one guy is the leader does not mean we back off. Everyone competes and does not except losing.

RS - Is there anyone particular who has impressed you with his leadership or abilities?
RY – Lanny (Smith) is a great leader, but he does it by example. He is a great competitor and leads by how tough he plays. RS – Compare your workouts now compared to what you are accustomed to.
RY – It is pretty similar. I had a tough junior college coach. This year is real tough after sitting out a year. This is only the third day of workouts and I have had my tongue hanging out after sitting out a year, but this is a great conditioning program.

RS - What attributes will you bring to the team?
RY – I am a great finisher, I will block shots and I love to rebound. RS - Are there any parts of your game you feel you need to improve before the start of the season?
RY – I need to work on my perimeter game, free throws and develop softer hands. In the post I can always add more moves, but I do have a couple of good ones now. I know Coach Young will teach me some things.

RS - What are your individual goals this season as your expectations of the team this?
RY – I just want to average a double-double this season and make it to the dance.

RS - What are your impressions of the coaching staff thus far?
RY – They are all great outside of basketball and they know how to handle their business on the court too.

RS - Are you familiar with the role current coach Michael Young played on the team?
RY – Not too much of it, I know of Clyde and Hakeem.

RS - What do you plan on studying and what are your ambitions following school?
RY – My major is sociology. I want to work with kids about in middle school and coaching as well. My dream is to get drafted and go the NBA but if that does not happen I will have something to fall back on after playing.

RS - Do you ever read
RY – Yes, I have been on there a couple times.

RS - Are there any last words you would like to say to all the Cougar fans out there?
RY – I don't think I can say anymore, you have gotten just about everything out me with this interview.

Thank you very much Richard for giving me your time to conduct this interview. You have persevered this far in making your dream come to pass and I look forward to seeing this same dedication as a Houston Cougar over the next two seasons.


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