BASKETBALL: Metro Detroit schoolboy star, UK standout Young off to the pros, declares for NBA Draft
LEXINGTON – When James Young committed to the University of Kentucky over a year ago, it was the belief of many that Young’s stay in Wildcat country would be a short one, considering his rare skill-set on the hardwood and NBA aspirations.
On Thursday afternoon, the former Troy and Rochester basketball star made it official that he will skip his final three years of collegiate eligibility, declaring for the upcoming NBA Draft.
“My time at Kentucky has been special to me, something I’ll always treasure, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Young said in a press release. “I’ve learned more this year, on and off the court, about life from Coach Cal (John Calipari) and the staff and appreciate all of their guidance and support. I can’t say enough about my teammates; the journey helped us build a bond that we will always share for the rest of our lives. I would like to thank the best fans in the country, the Big Blue Nation, and I hope you guys will continue to support me as I move on. I will always bleed blue. Succeed and Proceed!”
Young. a 6-foot-7 swingman, averaged over 14 points and four rebounds per contest, while helping lead Kentucky to the NCAA Championship Game in his lone season with the Wildcats.
Before heading to Kentucky, Young was a McDonald’s All-American as a high schooler and one of the most sought-after prospects in the country, fielding offers from Michigan State, Louisville, Kansas, and Syracuse along with a slew of other top-flight Division I programs.
When he decided to select Kentucky back in October 2012 – announcing his decision in press conference broadcast nationally on ESPNU -, he joined a recruiting class in the Bluegrass State that became the most star-studded in NCAA history (a record six McDonald’s All-Americans).
Kentucky head coach John Calipari shared his excitement for Young’s decision to head to the next level.
“I’m excited for James and his family and the decision he’s come to,” Calipari said in a statement. “From day one, the NBA people who came to our practices in the preseason raved about him. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him all season, investing himself in his brothers for the betterment of the team, and I think we all saw the end result in the tournament and Final Four. Whatever team drafts James is not only getting a superb athlete, they are getting the ultimate teammate.”
After spending the first three seasons of his prep career at Troy, Young transferred to Rochester where he led the Falcons to the Class A quarterfinals.
Young averaged over 27 points per game along with 16 rebounds per contest in 2013 at Rochester, finishing third in the voting for Mr. Basketball behind Flint Beecher’s Monte Morris (Iowa State) and Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy’s Derrick Walton, Jr (Michigan).
Young is widely considered to be a surefire first-round pick in the draft, which is on June 26.