BOYS BASKETBALL: McDonald’s All-American Game gets local flavor in Rochester’s Young, as UK-signee helps lift team to victory
CHICAGO – Steady and efficient was the kind of effort Rochester senior boys basketball star James Young had in the 36th annual McDonald’s All-American Game at the United Center on the Westside of Chicago Wednesday night.
The only prepster from the state to be tapped to play in the high-profile affair, Young, a 6-foot-6 ½ swingman inked with Kentucky, tallied six points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals, in helping lead his West squad to a 110-99 win. Delivering a tidy outing on offense, he was 3-of-6 shooting from the field, with one of his failed attempts coming on a missed slam dunk late in the second half when things were already decided.
Young is the first player from Michigan chosen as a McDonald’s All-American since 2011 when future Ohio State center Amir Williams (Birmingham Detroit Country Day) received the honor.
Kentucky placed six players in the McDonald’s game Wednesday, the most ever in the history of the event dating back to 1978.
In addition to Young, soon-to-be Wildcats, Julius Randall (Chicago), Dakari Johnson (New York), Marcus Lee (California) and the Harrison twins Aaron and Andrew (Houston) were all in uniform on the victorious West team. They combined to net 47 points.
Aaron Gordon, who committed to Arizona earlier in the week, celebrated his freshly-made decision by scoring a game-high 24 points and garnering MVP honors in the contest, which was carried live to a national television audience on ESPN. The state has seen two McDonald’s All-Americans put in MVP performances, first in 1987 with Saginaw Buena Vista’s Mark Macon and then in 1991 with Country Day’s Chris Webber, who registered a double-double of 25 points and 14 rebounds and sank the game-winning basket as time expired. Both Macon (Temple) and Webber (Michigan) went on to become college All-Americans and NBA lottery picks.
Despite being a three-time first-team all-state selection and the one player from the mitten to earn All-American accolades, Young was passed over for Mr. Basketball and the Gatorade Player of the Year this winter, in favor of Flint Beecher’s Monte Morris (Iowa State) and Harper Woods Chandler Park Academy’s Derrick Walton, Jr. (Michigan), respectively.
He is the 12th All-American to not win the state’s Mr. Basketball award, however the 2013 race was only the third time ever in the voting the snubbed All-American didn’t lose out to another All-American; the other two times coming in 2003 when Detroit De Porres’ Brandon Cotton (Michigan State-UofD-Mercy) was beaten out by Detroit Redford’s Dion Harris (Michigan) and then in 2004 when Wyoming Park’s Drew Neitzel (Michigan State) got the nod over a pair of McDonalds diaper dandies in the Detroit Renaissance duo of Malik Hairston (Oregon) and Joe Crawford (Kentucky).
Young’s senior campaign in high school might have been his best. Coming over to Rochester from Troy, he averaged 26 points, 16 rebounds, five assists and five steals a night in navigating the Falcons to their first district and regional titles in multiple decades.
Prior to suffering a minor calf injury late in the season and being forced to the sideline for a week and a half, Young had been posting close to 30 points and 20 rebounds a night.
ESPN.com currently ranks him the No. 6 player in the nation. At the prep level, Young played all five positions. Scouts and coaches project him as a small forward in college, but his expansive artillery of skills could allow him to run the point or line-up at the off-guard spot, too.