Five-star Michigan swingman James Young plans to make his first college trip of any kind this weekend when he travels south down I-75 for an unofficial visit with Kentucky.
"This is all new for James," said the player's godfather, Sean Mahone, who has been a guiding influence in the recruiting process. "He hasn't been anywhere yet. It makes me smile when I hear that he's supposedly 'down to two schools' or has a favorite. It seems like people have been saying that all summer. The part that makes me laugh is the two schools keep changing, and James hasn't even been anywhere yet.
"This is just the next step for him. The first step was the in-home visits, and now he's excited about getting out and seeing some of the schools."
Young (6-6, 190) is working with a top five that includes UK, Michigan State, Syracuse, Arizona and Kansas. Plans are being made to visit each school.
He is rated the No. 2 small forward and the No. 9 prospect overall in the Class of 2013 by Scout. The dynamic scorer picked up a scholarship offer from UK coach John Calipari after several dominant performances this summer with The Family on the AAU circuit.
Calipari was in Rochester Hills, Mich., earlier this month to meet with Young.
"We had a great home visit with coach Calipari earlier," Mahone said. "He told James that he's a great fit for what they like to do, that they love his versatility, and that they think he's a team player who can fit in with other great players with the ultimate goal of winning. He talked about how Kentucky has a proven track record of individual success through team success. And while nothing is guaranteed, James would have a chance to live out a life-long dream (of one day playing in the NBA)."
Kentucky is also recruiting other high-profile guards like Texas twins Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison and Canadian junior Andrew Wiggins, who may elect to reclassify to 2013. Calipari seems to be making a strong pitch that all of them can coexist at UK.
"I don't think it gets written enough how much James wants to win," Mahone said. "Everybody who has seen him play, almost unanimously, will tell you how unselfish he is and how he'll sacrifice his own stats for his teammates if it helps them win. That's the most important thing to him, and he wants to play with other great players who feel the same way.
"Obviously, the NBA is a big dream for him, but he wants to win an NCAA championship before that opportunity comes around."
The trip to UK has been a long time in the making.
"We've been planning to take an unofficial visit Kentucky for a while," Mahone said, "but for one reason or another it hadn't worked out yet. Now, with the season approaching, time is becoming more of a factor for us, and this just happened to be a good weekend where we could make the short drive down there and kind of see things at our own pace for a couple of days. We still plan on coming back for an official visit at a later date."
Asked what Young may be most interested to see when he visits Lexington, Mahone said: "I think the official visit is probably going to involve a little bit more of the 'real world' and the academics and the overall campus environment, so this unofficial visit will probably be more about getting a feel for the the people and the players on the team.
"We don't have a crystal ball, so who knows how long he'll be in college? We want to make sure he's really comfortable with the people and the environment at whatever school he eventually chooses. We've heard a lot of great things about Kentucky, so we're very much excited to see it first-hand."
James Young ready for visits
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