It may seem that sophomore forward Michael Young is expanding his game during the Pro-Am, or even playing loose. However, my recent interview with him revealed that he is really being the player he's always been.
Young was gracious enough to step away from cheering his other teammates on for a few minutes to answer some of our questions.
Q: So far in the Pro-Am, we’ve seen you handle the ball more and take a lot of threes. Is this something you're working on for the fall?
Not necessarily work on. I am just playing my game, just playing how I know how to play. I am just doing what's comfortable for me. I mean I am doing a lot more dribbling than I am accustomed to, but for the most part, I am comfortable dribbling the ball and shooting threes. I work on it every day and I pride myself on being an all-around player. So me out here playing how I am playing, and you guys seeing it, it’s new to you, but it's just the same basketball player to me. I am just playing my game.
Q: Is it ever a struggle to work on various aspects of your game during the Pro-Am while also remaining competitive?
No, my game is an all-around game: efficient, play hard, play physical, rebound. So when I come out here and play, it's as if I am in a pickup game or as if I'm in practice. You just add reps, that's about it.
Q: With the loss of Talib, there are some questions about who is going to man the paint this year. Is that a position you're ready to take over?
Oh yeah, I am definitely ready. Last year, for the greater part of the season, I guarded every team’s best big man, anyway. So, to step in next year and guard everybody's best big man or forward, it won't be a surprise to me, it won't be anything new. To demand the paint and control the paint is something I am ready to do.
Q: Also, with the loss of Lamar Patterson, are you ready to take a step forward and take on more of the offensive load?
Oh yes, yes. I've been working: lost some weight, got quicker, stronger, and more explosive. I've got a good rhythm on my jump shot, now. I've been working on my quickness and a little bit on my mechanics. Just working on being more efficient when scoring...I am a great free throw shooter so getting it from the free throw line, post, mid-post, hit a three here and there.
Q: If there is one thing that you'd like to bring into this upcoming season that people didn't get a chance to see last year, what would that be?
Just being more aggressive, just basically showing what I can do. Last year with the team we had - two seniors, a junior, James as a sophomore - the way the team was setup, my role wasn't to go out there and show what I can do. But this year, my plan is come out and be more aggressive from game one to our last game. I'm going to come out, be aggressive, show what I can do: make plays, score the ball, and rebound it. Be more involved, basically.
Q: Do you feel like the off the court chemistry you guys have helps you on the court here in these games?
Oh yeah, everybody is close to everybody. Everybody comes to the games, even if they don't decide to play in their own game, everybody comes to cheer each other on. When we come out here we aren't on the same team. So, when we're on different teams and watch other games, we have to help them get going...we come from work outs, pickups, lifts, we're tired... maybe we talk a little trash to help them get going, so they can put on a good show, basically for the fans.