November 11, 2011

Youth not wasted on Young

Kevin McCarthy

Andrew Young's first sporting home was in the pool. But mimicking evolution, he left the water for land, the hardwood in particular, and that move has paved the way for what should be a long and lucrative career.

photo of Andrew Young

Now a 6-foot-9, 235-pound sophomore at Monterey Peninsula College and playing for MPC Coach Blake Spiering, Young focused much more on water polo during his high school days. "My Dad was a swim coach in the Monterey area," he explained. "Our sports had to do with aquatics." Imagine a 6-foot-9 water polo player rising out of the water for a shot.

But he realized "with basketball, there was more opportunity to continue on."

As with many bigs, it took time for Young to grow into his body. It wasn't necessarily an issue for him while playing water polo in high school but on the court was different.

"I was very, very goofy, struggling with control," Young offered.

But today, it's opponents struggling to control him.

Asked about his best basketball skills, Young offered "my ability to pass out of the post and I can score." He elaborated with "I've watched film so I understand about defensive rotations from the strong side and the weak side and how to skip a pass against defenses."

He demonstrated his scoring prowess as well as strong work on the boards with a 35 point, 14 rebound effort against Foothill College in the opening game for both teams last Monday.

It was apparent watching Young during the Foothill Summer Slam tournament in July that he possesses a remarkable level of court vision. He would receive passes down low, check for cutters and approaching double teams and either go up for a score or wing a pass to an open teammate. He oozed confidence, as if the game was advancing in slow motion for him, similar to what the best quarterbacks display in football.

What he didn't offer among his strengths is his ability to run the floor. Yes, he is big and strong but also glides up and down the hardwood.

Looking back at his freshman year vis-a-vis the present (he was at Cabrillo College then before transferring to MPC and redshirting last season), Young sees dramatic progress. "I definitely have a heightened maturity level and a narrower focus. I'm more dedicated to what I'm doing. Now every time I get the ball, I believe I can get a score or an assist. It's the difference of confidence."

With is academics, it was a matter of "buckling down and realizing what I wanted to do. It's hard to look ahead when you're young because you're so focused on the now."

In the pros, Young likes the games of Kevin Garnett and Amare Stoudamire but "as far as someone showing me what to do, and how to do it, it's Coach Blake. He has worked with me and repeatedly told me what would happen if I worked hard enough. He kept saying 'you can do it' and he was right."

About the future he has doggedly worked to access, Young wants to major in kinesiology at the next level. "It helps with my basketball progress and I want to be in the training field down the road," Young said.

With recruiting, he's wide open at the moment. As Young put it, "it's not limited to the Bay Area or California. I'm partial to West Coast but really open to anything."

There already are a number of them but there will be many more college coaches partial to Young before this season is over.