Basketball runs in the family with Joe Young. His father, Michael Young, played for the famed Phi Slamma Jamma teams for Guy Lewis at the University of Houston in the early 1980's, along with superstars like Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. The Cougars made three straight Final Four trips from 1982-1984.
Michael Young currently works for the University of Houston as the director of basketball operations and performance enhancement, and while Houston was interested in Joe, and some fans assumed he'd be a legacy recruit, his father had no problem with his son getting away for college. The two Youngs visited Providence over the weekend, and Joe committed on Monday to the Friars.
"Best shooter in America," John Eurey, Young's AAU coach with the Houston Superstars told the Providence Journal. "There's not one high school kid in America who can outshoot Joe Young. Michael Young had Joe shooting 1,500 jumpers every day. He told Joe, 'If you can shoot the ball, that will take you a long way.' "
Young was a relative unknown as a freshman, playing for a high school in the suburbs of Houston, but as a sophomore he transferred to the inner city Yates High School, and his basketball career began to take off. A role player as a sophomore, Young exploded as a junior, averaging 23 ppg for a Top 10 nationally ranked squad that finished 34-1 and had an average winning margin of over 30 points per game.
Yates captured its first state championship, as Joe scored 29 points on seven three-pointers in a 94-78 win over Dallas' Kimball High in the Class 4A final. Young's season long performance and playoff explosions earned him All-State mention. With all five starters returning, Yates is a favorite to capture another state title this season.
At 6'2 and 175 pounds, Young is a physical, athletic combo guard who projects as a two-guard at the college level. He can get to the rim and dunk with authority, but its his shooting ability that leaves observers slack jawed. His range is beyond the professional 3-point line and he has said that he once made seven consecutive buckets from beyond half court.
Chris Gaston is a professional trainer who works with the top high school and college players in the Houston area, and ScoutFriars.com spoke with him Tuesday evening. Gaston also runs Houstonpreps.net and has seen a lot of talent over the years. He raves about Joe Young's ability.
"He can really fill it up," said Gaston. "He's a volume shooter with range out to thirty feet. He exploded in his junior year. I saw him as a sophomore and wasn't impressed, but he came back as a junior and had really improved. Early on (his freshman and sophomore years) I was thinking he might barely be a Division I player, he was just a little guy, but he grew and got a lot better."
"He's physical. He doesn't care who he goes up against. He has a quiet confidence. He thinks every time he steps on the floor, that he's the best player on the floor. He's really improved his defense too. You have to play defense to play at Yates. They get after you full court. It's forty minutes of hell."
"The only real question with Joe is whether he can play the point and lead a team. He can play point in a pinch but he's a two guard." At a shade under 6'2, Young is a small two-guard and not a point and that may have caused some hesitation in his recruitment over the past season, but his recruitment definitely picked up over the summer as he excelled against top players from across the country.
"I have a list of the schools who offered Joe, and I can confirm that he had offers from Houston, Texas, Texas Tech, Missouri, Miami of Florida and a bunch of others. I'm not sure about Marquette, but they and a lot of other schools were at a lot of his games. Chris Davis of Providence recruited him and Keno Davis saw him in Las Vegas and really liked him."
Young's exceptional season extended into the summer as he played AAU ball for the Houston Superstars. Young scored 37 points and made nine 3-pointers in a game against the Dallas Mustangs Blue at the Denton Great American Shoot-Out. He also averaged 23.8 ppg at the Reebok Camp in Vegas, good for third best in the camp. Gaston will be hosting his annual Houston Back To School All-Star Game on September 25th, which pits the Top 20 seniors against the Top 20 underclassmen in Texas, and Young will be participating.
Although Providence has now exhausted its allotment of scholarships for the Class of 2010, expect the Friars to keep recruiting. PC expected to host Jerian Grant on October 2nd, and remains strongly involved with forwards Devon Collier, J.J. Moore, Shane Southwell, Trey Zeigler and others.
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