Young Finalist For Student-Athlete Award

Pitt senior forward Sam Young could be described as a quiet storm, soft-spoken off the court and during interviews, but explosive with a basketball in his hands.

Another way to describe Sam Young is as a humanitarian. For his work in the classroom, the community, his character and competitiveness, Young was named among the 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. He is the lone Pittsburgh player in the final group.

"All of our players do a significant amount of community service projects,'' Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said. "I think it's really enjoyable for them. (And) it's fun to watch Sam, because he really opens up in those situations. ... You might not know it, but he does a great job with the kids at our camps. So, it's a great award and deserving for Sam.''

The men's senior winner will be presented the award in front of a national television audience during the CBS telecast at the NCAA Final Four in Detroit. The 10 finalists will be placed on an official ballot for a nationwide vote beginning today and concluding March 22. Votes from coaches and media will be coupled with fan voting to determine the award recipient. Fans can vote on-line Vote For Sam..

"When I get a chance to help somebody else, especially in their time of need, it's always a blessing when I can do it and a blessing to be recognized for my charity work,'' Young said. "We always do stuff as a team for UPMC, veterans, and ... kids who have leukemia, things like that. We try do as much as possible.

"So, all that stuff, it's a big part of my giving back. I'm also working on a big project right now, so I'm looking forward to getting more done with that. I'm working on a non-profit project for the blind, mostly because of my brother, Michael Spriggs (who is blind). ... Hopefully, it'll be a big part of my future.''

As part of Young's project, he's looking at situations in the Pittsburgh area where the blind are limited due to inadequacies by the community. He's examining the city as well as his university.

"We're looking at everything,'' Young said. "Funding for seeing-eye dogs for kids, things like that. Public transportation. We have a lot of ideas, but it's just in the beginning stages. We kind of know what we're going to do, but not where we're going to end up. It probably won't be completed until after I'm gone.''

Young averages 18.1 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. He converts 48 percent (153-319) of his field-goal attempts and 33.7 percent (30-89) on 3-point attempts. He leads the Panthers in scoring, field goals made, 3-point field goals made and blocked shots. Young has scored more than 20 points in nine games and has reached double-figure scoring in 20 games for No. 6 Pitt (20-2 overall, 7-2 in the Big East). In his four-year, 129-game career, Young has scored 1,593 points, grabbed 610 rebounds and blocked 97 shots.

A midseason second-team All-America selection by Collegehoop.net, Young is a Wooden and Naismith Award All-America nominee. He was honored as the Big East Player of the Week Jan. 26 after averaging 22 points and five rebounds and shooting 61.5 percent from the floor in leading Pitt to consecutive wins against then No. 8 Syracuse and West Virginia.

Pitt returns to Conference play against DePaul (8-15, 0-10) Saturday at 2 p.m. at Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb Rosemont, Ill. The contest will be televised by ESPN on a regional basis and shown locally on FSN Pittsburgh.

Along with Young, the finalists are Texas guard A.J. Abrams, Rhode Island guard Jimmy Baron, Temple guard Dionte Christmas, North Carolina forward Tyler Hansbrough, UT-Martin guard Lester Hudson, Baylor guard Curtis Jerrells, Marquette guard Jerel McNeal, Belmont guard Andy Wicke and Louisville forward Terrence Williams.

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