Extra Practice Means Opportunity For Young

With preseason football practice just getting started this week, it seems a little premature to be talking about the Mountaineer basketball team. But after a week of practice preparing for a six-game exhibition tour for Europe, the reality is that basketball season is also just around the corner.

While the season doesn't officially tip-off until late November, the week of practice and trip overseas could go a long way in determining the success of this year's team. The tour will also provide opportunities for some of the Mountaineer role players to gain valuable game experience against respectable opponents. One such player is rising sophomore forward Frank Young.

The Tallahassee, Fla., native began his freshman season in the rotation, but a shooting slump, laong with a desire for more experience in the lineup, caused his playing time to steadily decrease. He did show promise in the opening round NIT game at Kent State, however, by scoring five straight points during a Mountaineer run in the first half that helped the Mountaineers to a road win.

With the transfer of Jerrah Young and graduation of Johnathan Curran, Frank Young and Mike Gansey will be counted on to provide solid minutes behind Tyrone Sally at the three position. Young and redshirt freshman Brad Byerson will also be asked to spot junior Kevin Pittsnogle at the four. The exrta week's worth of practice, along with six games before regular preseason practice even begins, will give Young plenty of opportunities to get his feet wet at both forward positions.

"This will give me some more experience running through the offense," noted Young prior to a practice last week at the WVU Coliseum. I'm just going to go out there and try to play better with my teammates and learn the system a little bit better."

Even without the extra week of practice and the European tour, Young has had an offseason well spent. Like the rest of the Mountaineer team, he stayed in Morgantown for the first three-week summer school session. He then returned to Tallahassee to work out with his high school coach, where he worked mostly on his shooting and ball handling, which should help him as he attempts to crack the rotation.

"Playing both the three and the four gives me a chance for some more playing time and a chance to get into the rotation," said Young.

During the week of practice leading up to the trip, he was somewhat hobbled by a bum ankle, but should be fine to play in Europe. During shooting drills and scrimmages, it looked as though the 6'5", 220-pound sophomore has found whatever was hindering his shot and corrected it, consistently making shots not only from three-point range, but also from inside the arc.

While it's entirely too early to make any predictions on what kind of year Frank Young will have, you can't argue the fact that six games in Europe will provide the Floridian with invaluable experience heading into preseason workouts. WVU will be facing very good competition throughout the tour, and should be a bit ahead of schedule when they open their regular preseason practice later this fall.

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