Former Pitt star Mike Young signed with the Leones de Ponce of Baloncesto Superior Nacional, Puerto Rico’s top-tier basketball league, on Wednesday. He recently wrapped up his first season in the NBA G League, playing for the Delaware 87ers and the Northern Arizona Suns.
”We are very enthusiastic and happy with the signing of Mike Young,” said Wilhelmus Caanen, Ponce’s director of basketball operations, in a statement. “Young gives us points in the paint, and he can also help us on the perimeter. I love playing a fast transition game, where everyone touches the basketball. Young fits perfectly with what we’re looking for.”
After going undrafted in 2017, Young signed a two-way contract with the Washington Wizards. However, he did not log any playing time with the NBA team and was waived on Jan. 3. He finished out the season with the G League Suns in Prescott Valley, Arizona, ultimately averaging 12.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists over 49 games.
”Young can play with his back to the basket, shoot threes and create his own shots from the floor, qualities that we looked for in reinforcements,” said Ponce general manager Gabriel Ortiz.
The former Panther will travel to Puerto Rico to join the team in mid-April, according to the statement, and the team’s optimism is understandable, given Young’s standout play in the G League. He scored 19 or more points in three of his last five games with Northern Arizona, including a 37-point outburst over 39 minutes against the Santa Cruz Warriors on March 18.
In addition to that, he kicked off February with a 41-point game against the same team and followed that up with a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double the next day.
As for Ponce, the team won back-to-back BSN titles in 2014 and 2015 but has since slipped in standing, placing sixth out of 11 teams in 2016 at 18-18 and fourth in 2017 at 19-17. At the least, Ponce has added a legitimate scoring threat in Young, who should play a prominent role on the team as it attempts to return to playing championship-caliber basketball.