Just A Matter Of Time

As the ninth man in a mostly eight-man rotation, sophomore forward Frank Young has limited time to make an impact on the floor during games.

Mountaineer men's basketball head coach John Beilein's fondness for an eight-man rotation is well documented. Give him a couple of guards and a frontcourt player off the bench to get 15-20 minutes per game apiece, and his plan is pretty much set for most nights.

That's not to say that Beilein won't go deeper on his bench. It's just that appreciable minutes for the ninth and tenth guys on the roster can be tough to come by.

Sitting in that ninth spot is sophomore forward Frank Young. And while many players in his position might be frustrated with his role, the low-key Floridian isn't upset with the way the rotation has shaken out so far.

"I know that around the nine or ten minute mark in the first half is usually the time I'm going in," Young said. "I'm giving Tyrone (Sally) and Mike (Gansey) a rest and I know that's my role on the team. I'm happy with that right now, and I'm just trying to do anything I can to help the team win."

Again, don't let those words fool you. It's not that Young doesn't want more playing time, or that he isn't working for it. It's just that he is stuck behind Sally and Gansey at the four position (Gansey starts at the three but at times slides over to the four), and as a result there aren't many minutes available.

Compounding the problem this year has been an unexpected drought from three-point range. Young, normally a solid shooter, has misfired on all eight of his three-point attempts this season, and although he is 4-9 from inside the arc, he needs to hit a few long distance shots to stay on the floor and earn more minutes.

Young is working hard to correct the problem, but admits that he can't find anything particularly wrong with his form.

"I'm constantly shooting [in practice], and really working on my form," Young said. "I just try to get lots of repetition. Coach Beilein tells me to find the seams [on the ball], and I need to do that every time."

'Finding the seams' means to get the fingers in the deep seams on the basketball before shooting it, so that the seams are perpendicular to the ends of the fingers. Getting the ball aligned in that manner helps the shooter develop backspin on the ball, and produces a softer shot than one which is launched with the seams out of alignment.

Other than that issue, Young syas he hasn't seen any form breaks or problems during his film study of his shot, and believes that it's just a matter of work to get out of the slump.

"I think about it some on the bench, but I don't think about it when I get into the game," Young explained. "It's just some adversity that I need to fight through."

While waiting for his chance to make a contribution, Young isn't just idling his time away. He watches the action intently for cues to opponents' defensive strategies, and tries to have counters ready for those when he is summoned to the floor.

"I watch how the defense plays us, and I watch what we're running against them. I try to watch for different cuts and where the openings are in the defense," Young detailed. "On offense, I watch what the other team is doing against our 'three' (1-3-1) zone and our man, so I have an idea of what I need to defend against when I go in there."

When Young gets the call to action, he knows that his stint is likely to be a brief one. He is averaging just under six minutes per game this year, which isn't a great deal of time to make a mark. Working under those constraints might be a recipe for forced or hurried play, which is something he tries to guard against.

"I feel a little pressure on myself to try to get a rebound or hit a shot or get a steal," Young admitted. "Anything to make an impact for the team."

So far, he's handled that aspect well, as he has yet to commit a turnover. He's grabbed eight rebounds to go with four assists, a block and a steal, and by all accounts has played well in every aspect other than shooting.

Everyone in the program, from the coaches down to Young himself, believes that facet of his game will come around as well. As he demonstrated last year against Maryland, when he hit two huge three-pointers to help the Mountaineers knock off the Terrapins, he has the ability to make shots and score on this level. It's just a matter of time.

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