Every kid grows up wanting to play for his favorite college football team, or lacing up his shoes for the local college basketball team. Some aspire for even grater things and playing sports as a professional.
But every kid has a dream.
For junior college forward Andrew Young that dream was there growing up as a child. He dreamt of playing college basketball at one of the top conferences in the nation in front of friends and family. He wanted to be the forward a college program would lean on to carry them to success and titles.
For Young that college he dreamed of playing for was the hometown Oregon Ducks.
“Let me put it this way, I would lay in bed at night dreaming of playing basketball in Mac Court and wearing the green and yellow and being the star player for the Oregon Ducks,” said the 6-foot-9 235 pound forward who grew up in Eugene.
“But that dream, it didn’t come true out of high school,” says Young. “I was a tall skinny kid that just looked goofy and didn’t have much coordination. I wasn’t good enough.”
“I played my basketball at North Eugene high school my first two years of high school,” explained Young. “I was hoping to replace Brian and all those guys and keep the success going.”
After sitting out his junior year due to his body growing too fast and growing pains removing him from the court he decided he needed to get away from North Eugene and moved down to California and lived with his grandmother in hopes of catching some school’s attention.
“But my senior year was cut very very short,” admitted Young. “I got hurt three games into the season and I never played again in high school. It was very disappointing. I went down there to get looks from schools and couldn’t show what I could do.”
Andrew Young goes in for a dunk. Photo via MPCC
And the dream of playing basketball at Oregon was or any division-one school was gone.
The dream of playing college basketball could have died but Young said he got himself in shape and made the roster at local community college in California.
“I went to a different community college in California than Monterey for my first year but it just wasn’t a good fit for me,” says Young. “So I left and moved back into my Grandma’s house at Monterey, CA. I just wasn’t taking school seriously and basketball seriously.”
Because of that immature time as a freshman Young was forced to redshirt and do some soul searching as he would call it.
“I grew up, I became a man,” says Young. “I learned a lot and I got my act in order. I developed myself as a student first and then an athlete second. My grade-point average climbed from a 1.8 to now being a 3.8.”
But Young also did some maturing as a basketball player during that redshirt year at Monterey Peninsula College.
That skinny and uncoordinated young teenager grew into a powerful forward that was ready to dominate the junior college level.
“I worked really hard in the gym and just got better every single day,” said Young. “The fit at Monterey was perfect for me. I focused on just school and basketball. Then after my redshirt season things clicked and it was totally different out there. I dominated.”
As a redshirt sophomore that now stands 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds Young was a one-man wrecking crew that couldn’t be stopped. He averaged 25 points and 15 rebounds and every game got better and better.
“I am a face-up four that can really present a match-up nightmare for every other post out there,” says Young. “There aren’t many college players like me. I was a small forward in high school or more of a shooting guard and then I grew and my body caught up with my skill. I have a very quick first step and I do my best when I am in a system that plays outside and in.”
Young plays a similar style of basketball as the former Oregon and 5A state player of the year Terrence Jones played at Kentucky the past two seasons.
After dominating the junior college ranks as a sophomore this past year Young has seen his college choices grow and continue growing.
“Well right now I somewhat have a final three after going over all these offers,” says Young. “I visited Texas AM a few weeks ago and then Oregon this past weekend and then I’ll be going to N.C. State this weekend.”
Young thought he was able to dwindle a whos who list of west coast offers and a few national ones down those three.
“But then some big name schools have come on late,” admitted Young. “Vanderbilt has offered me a few weeks ago and I know Kentucky is really picking up on their interest and I should be getting an offer from them soon. I am still deciding if I’d like to take my fourth visit or not because I was down to those original three. If I do take my fourth visit it will be either to Vanderbilt or Kentucky.”
Young says he is attracted to the appeal of playing in a college atmosphere and playing someplace that is known for being in a college town.
“You know Cal offered me and the L.A. schools showed me a lot of interest but at those schools no one pays attention to those schools unless they are that special team,” says Young. “At a place like Texas AM or at Oregon, or the other schools I am looking at you know those communities are wrapped up in their teams. They come out for every sport and show their school love. You know it’s a community. That really attracts me.”
Young says the idea of playing basketball at a place like Texas AM or N.C. State is also very appealing because it is a new place for him as a player and as a person.
“I have that dream of playing at Oregon and being a star but having a chance to go somewhere and play basketball in part of the country I’ve never really been too,” admitted Young. “I could write my own dream. I could play somewhere new, meet new people, grow as a person too.”
“To me that sounds very exciting.”
The official visit to Oregon over Easter weekend was everything Young wanted it to be and he left with the dream he had as a young teenager once again.
“To be honest, I cried when my coach at Monterey told me Oregon wanted to offer me a scholarship,” said Young. “I was just so excited because it had been that dream of mine to play basketball there for so long.”
But time spent in California and the attention from other programs had left Young with some questions about Oregon.
“I was a tad concerned about Oregon to be honest with you,” Young admitted. “I was concerned about who they were bringing back because I thought by looking at their roster they had a few guys who were the same player as me. I like Oregon a lot but I also want to go somewhere that I can play and have a big impact.”
So he made sure to have a sit down discussion with his parents and the Oregon coaches to see how they’d use him in Dana Altman’s system.
“Coach Altman and Coach Brian Fish they sat me down and we mapped it all out,” says Young. “They said they like me to play both the four and the five next season with E.J. Singler and Carlos Emory holding down the wing positions next year. Then Altman says the way I can play and the development he sees in my game I can play the three, four, and five at Oregon as a senior and that really excited me.”
The visit left Young with a dream of playing once again in front of friends and family in his hometown for the school he always dreamed of playing he says.
“But I could also go somewhere and do something new and see new things and that’s just as exciting,” said Young. “But I know where my future home will be in the next 10 to 12 days.”
But the question if it will be a homecoming or not is left undecided.