SCOUTing Report: Solomon Young
WESTLAKE, Calif. -- Sacramento (Calif.) came into this weekend's Holiday Hardwood Invitational at Westlake High School as one of the top two seeds in the annual tournament, and, at 8:30 p.m. on Monday night, the Dragons will take on No. 1 overall seed El Cerrito (Calif.) in the tournament's title game.
Sacramento is very, very young, with just one senior on the roster and two more upperclassmen. The Dragons are fueled mainly by a trio of sophomores – 6-foot-1 off guard Tre Finch, 6-foot-4 wing Christian Terrell and 6-foot-7, 220-pound power forward Solomon Young, who is the subject of our scrutiny today.
The first thing you notice about Young is his size and muscle tone. He doesn't look anywhere close to just 15 years old; he looks like a grown man.
He plays like a grown man, too, as you can see in the first several clips of his rebounds. We'll revisit this later.
The thing that sticks out about Young's game is his energy. Starting at 41 seconds into our two-game scouting video up top, you can see him scoring, getting back on defense, closing out a shooter and gaining strong position down low for the rebound, and that was all with him having just come straight off the bench. That's all effort. He doesn't let up, and he shows a particular talent for disruption.
Young contests every shot he can get to, he changes a lot of shot angles, and even it he doesn't get so much as a fingertip on the ball, he has a huge effect on shooters because of his size and speed. You can see it again as he inserts himself into a passing lane and then is able to spin back inside to get the rebound.
At 1:27, we start to see some of the more developed aspects of Young's game – his variety of spin moves down low in the post. That's a go-to move for him right now, however, he'll show the occasional drop step to get position, and, again, he's not afraid to get physical.
At 1:36, he's able to find an open man up the sideline after getting a defensive board, and matriculate the ball up the court for an easy two before the half.1:35 gets the board and matriculates the ball up the floor for two easy points on the break.
At 1:51, we see one of the weaknesses of Young's game, and that's shooting touch. With his size, he's going to get his points down low, but as the competition gets bigger and better both as he faces older players in AAU ball with the NorCal Wildcats and then college competition, he's going to have to develop a mid-range game, and he doesn't have that right now. He takes a shot from the top of the key, wide open, and comes up short. In the next clip, you can see that he's got good fundamentals and a solid stroke from three, but, again, is off the mark. He has plenty of time to improve, and, again the fundamentals are there, as you can see in the next clip of him spinning out of a double team, and while the shot didn't fall, that's a very advanced move and thought process for a sophomore. That mid-range shot, as I said, isn't yet in his repertoire, but he has the right idea.
That may all sound like nit-picking, and it is, because, frankly, I love the kid's motor. At 2:11, Young comes out to make a big, athletic block after gaining good position in the low post, but is able to hold his position inside and make a block down low, as well, as seen in the next clip up.
Remember what I said about Young looking like a grown man? Well, he's not, and that's both good news and bad news. The good news is, he's going to get bigger and stronger, and with his athleticism, he's going to be an absolute force and a clear-cut Division I prospect. We have him rated as a three-star right now, but if he continues to get bigger and stronger – and improves on some of the finer points – he's a sure-fire four-star. The bad news, at least now, is that he's a bit of a wild child on the court at times. He's so far ahead of his competition physically – and he will be for the next two and a half years – that his enthusiasm and motor sometimes get the best of him, as we can see at 2:21 when he bats a potential rebound out of bounds. That said, he's very active on defense and brings a ton of intensity. He just has to be tempered and honed.
At 2:42, you can see just how active Young is on defense, which is a big plus, especially considering his size. He stays with plays very well and has good lateral movement. He's not a plodding big man, by any stretch, but for how athletic he is, he should be able to run the court a bit quicker.
As for that athleticism, at 2:58, you can see it in full flower. He's agile enough to take defenders off the dribble, get to the cup and finish. At 3:07, you can see that he's certainly quick enough to get back on defense with some urgency, and comes up with a block for his troubles.
At 3:19, we take a look at two of Young's attempts from the charity stripe. For his height, it's good to see some arc on the ball, but free throw shooting is one of the finer skills that he'll have to sharpen as he gets older, as right now, the results are pretty inconsistent.
At 3:28, to finish this thing off, I could really have an entire reel of Solomon getting in passing lanes and challenging shots, and these first two are from the third quarter of a game that was already pretty well in-hand (Sacramento led by 14 points, at the time). His defensive intensity reminds a lot of folks – according to a source, particularly the California coaching staff – of Jorge Gutierrez, except with about five more inches and 15 more pounds. He's physical, he's not afraid to take contact, and the intensity doesn't let up over these few clips, again, towards the end of a pretty well-decided game, and that's something that I haven't seen from several five-star prospects.
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