When James Young was being recruited fans in Michigan all wanted to know if he was going to stay in the state and play. Both Michigan and Michigan State recruited him, but for Young, leaving the Great Lake State was always preferable.
"I always knew that I wanted to leave the state when I was being recruited." Young said. "I lived in Michigan my whole life and I just wanted to get away from home. I just knew I wanted to leave."
Michigan did show Young a little interest, but it was the Spartans that made him a priority. The mutual interest with Michigan State developed, while interaction with Michigan never really materialized.
"Michigan did contact me a little bit when I was there in Michigan," Young recalled. "I was not too familiar with the staff there. Michigan State recruited me a little bit as well. I did take a couple of visits there, but I knew that I wanted to leave the state."
Since he was a kid he's known what he wanted that out-of-state destination to be.
"Kentucky was always my favorite place; it was always my dream school. I watched a lot of videos on them growing up. I saw Tayshaun Prince and Rajon Rondo. Once I got the chance and they offered me it was just like mind blowing for me."
Playing basketball at Kentucky makes one an instantly a celebrity. Wildcat targets would do well to understand what is expected of them if they join the Kentucky fold.
"It's crazy," he said. "It is definitely a dream come true. It's real crazy -- the fans are amazing. You can't go anywhere publicly without being stopped everywhere you go. I love it actually -- everybody on the team does -- our fans show us so much support and love. They travel everywhere -- every away game they are there and showing us so love. When we go somewhere I have no problem taking pictures with somebody, signing autographs or going out the way for someone. They just show us so much love back, so it is only right to show so much love to them."
Young, like most recruits Kentucky goes after, now understands just how tough Coach Calipari can be. He is very demanding of his players. The fact that you are an incoming freshman means nothing.
"When Coach Cal recruited me he told me it was going to be hard they whole way," sad Young. "He told me that I was going to have to work to get my starting position. That was something I was looking forward to because I had never been challenged like that before. Growing up it was all about me, and once I got here it was a different challenge for me and a different role. He kept coaching me throughout the season, showing me all my rights and what all my wrongs were. Coach Cal was there for me."
Now Calipari is working hard to get Young and the rest of his Wildcats familiar with Michigan in time for their Sunday afternoon match-up. Young is already well acquainted with Michigan freshman Derrick Walton.
"I played against Derrick Walton a lot growing up," said Young "Actually it was a rivalry with our AAU teams (Derrick) with the Michigan Mustangs and me with The Family. We have always been going up against each other through the years like that. We talk a little bit -- we text a couple times here and there. He is a real good friend of mine. He is doing good."
Because of a quick turnaround Kentucky has not had a chance to watch much film on Michigan, but Young does know enough about them to know they can play.
"They are a good team," he said. "Obviously they can play really good, and they are a very good team. They move the ball very well. We have not watched that much film on them. Hopefully when we watch film on them, we can get a feel for them, and go out there and play."
Tomorrow Michigan fans will see if Youn picked the right Blue when Michigan and Kentucky square off for the right to go to the Final Four.