H: 6' 7"|
W: 223 lbs
(30 Years Old)
|RSCI: 49||Agent: Zack Charles ||
High School: Hargrave Military Academy
Hometown: Clinton, MD
Drafted: Pick 36 in 2009 by Grizzlies
Best Case: James Posey
Worst Case: Joey Graham
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2009||NBA Draft Combine||6' 5.25"||6' 6.75"||223||6' 10.75"||8' 9.5"||4.9||27.5||33.0|
|Year||Source||Height w/o Shoes||Height w/shoes||Weight||Wingspan||Standing Reach||Body Fat||No Step Vert||Max Vert|
|2009||NBA Draft Combine||6' 5.25"||6' 6.75"||223||6' 10.75"||8' 9.5"||4.9||27.5||33.0|
The fifth leading scorer in this year's Summer League, Sam Young saw consistent minutes as a rookie last season in Memphis, and while he didn't hit jump shots at a high rate, he still got the job done off the bench. A long and powerfully built wing, Young struggled to translate the spot-up proficiency he showed at Pittsburgh to NBA three point range. One of a number of players selected in the early part of the second round in 2009 that had a productive season on the wing, Young showed well in Las Vegas. His numbers are a bit skewed because of a 3-point performance in limited minutes in Memphis' final outing, but his 35-point explosion against the D-League Select team surely compensates for that.
Playing next to O.J. Mayo initially during his Summer League cameo and the rest of Memphis' stable of former draft picks, Young was the primary beneficiary of the Grizzlies' efforts to play a very up-tempo style. Leaking up the floor regularly, the Pittsburgh product found himself on the receiving end of a handful of deep outlets every game. Young capitalized on the fast break frequently, using his excellent athleticism to finish explosively at the basket and using his strength to his advantage to take contact and get to the line.
When the game slowed down, Young didn't seem to be looking to take the ball to the rim, with most of his touches around the basket coming off of back-door cuts and a handful of well timed offensive rebounds. For the most part, he looked to break his man down off the catch using jabs and quick rip-throughs to open up space for his midrange jump shot. Young did knock down a handful of catch and shoot jumpers and pull-ups, looking extremely confident with his shot selection, but didn't convert at a fantastic rate.
Defensively, Young showed some hustle defensive, and made an effort when closing out the likes of Gary Neal and Wayne Ellington, though both players hit quite a few shots with Young a step late in pursuit. Young played a sound brand of team-defense, seldom taking risks and doing a good job positioning himself to help his teammates, but his play in Las Vegas was a microcosm of some of the issues he had as a rookie last season.
Young has the tools to be a very good defender, but he doesn't make scrappy plays denying penetration one-on-one or show the high intensity level that one would like to see from a player with his potential. We can't condemn Young for his defensive performance in the regular season last year or in the Summer League, but the Grizzlies are certainly hoping to see more from him down the road.
Young's ability to improve on the defensive end will significantly increase what he brings to the table in Memphis. He's proven capable of putting points on the board despite his inability to shoot the NBA three, but he could become an exceptionally valuable player if he brought his A-game defensively on every possession. Xavier Henry will be charged with knocking down shots off the bench in Memphis, meaning this is a golden opportunity for Young to do the things that he does best offensive and start to achieve his potential defensively.
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• Sam Young has an awesome profile for a defender at the next level, but his ability to translate some of his situation skills to the next level will determine how effectively he can display them.
Blessed with athleticism, strength, and an excellent body, Sam Young looks the part and has the work ethic to be a defensive specialist at the next level. Certain parts of his offensive game fit the description of an effective role-player as well. Young was a real go-to guy in college, ranking second on our list in possessions used (17.8) while posting an efficient PPP of 1.03 (5th). Most of his scoring comes from two specific areas: his finishing ability and his catch and shoot jump shot. Around the rim, Young is ranked 4th in this group at 6.5 Pos/G and is 2nd at 1.27 PPP. His 44% shooting in catch and shoot situations is good for 4th and he ranks 3rd in terms of possessions at 5 per game. If he improves the range on his jumper to acclimate the 37.2% three-point percentage he posted as a senior past the NBA-line, he could become a viable offensive role-player who is an even better defender, a la James Posey.
The fact that he shot 49% from the field on 1.9 Pos/G in the post is a nice compliment to his ability to impact the game with the possessions his teammates create for him, and really highlights the toughness and physicality he brings to the table. Where Young struggles is in his ability to create his own shot , converting on just 17/56 or 30% of his isolation opportunities. His ball-handling skills don’t allow him to be much of a threat in transition or operating on the pick and roll, and he is not particularly prolific in terms of his ability to shoot off the dribble.
Projected as one of the top prospects in the Big East going into the year, Sam Young has continued to perform much as he did last season when he was an honorable mention All-American selection. The senior is the leading scorer for a team many pundits already have penciled in for the Final Four come March, and he has shown marginal improvements in some of the weaker points of his overall game.
Young is spending more time at the small forward position this season, and is looking more comfortable away from the basket as a result. He's shooting more 3-pointers this year, and is getting more opportunities to take his defender off the dribble going one on one. He continues to put the ball in the basket at a very high rate (just a hair under 50%) despite being more daring with his shot selection. His release continues to be quick, making him a threat to catch and shoot on the perimeter, but his form could use a bit of fine tuning. Certainly his increased production from beyond the arc will be intriguing to pro scouts envisioning Young as a 3 at the next level. His three-point field goal percentage may have dipped a couple of points from last season, but Young is attempting more than one full additional field goal from this range per game. He has also greatly improved his ability to catch and shoot coming off of screens.
The senior's ball-handling skills gave scouts the most pause about his game last season, and while he shows minor improvements, Young is still very much a straight line driver. In the half court set he is still able to get to the basket on a regular basis due to his over exaggerated pump fake and quick first step, but he misses out on some opportunities in transition. Often times he is forced to take a tougher angle to the basket as a result of his inability to effectively change direction with the basketball when in full stride. While he may be able to elevate over defenders with his athleticism to get his shot off now, it will be a much different case in the NBA. With that said though, there are few players in the country who can challenge Young when it comes to finishing in transition. He possesses unbelievable power and athleticism, a combination that makes for a long list of highlight reel finishes when Pitt is able to run in the open floor.
Defense continues to be a major staple of Young's game. He has solid lateral quickness, a good wingspan and most importantly, is always hustling. Even in situations where ball handlers may have a step on him going to the basket, he recovers so well that he still alters a good number of shots that he otherwise shouldn't be able to. He still could stand to improve how he deals with screens and the pick and roll, something that will be vital to his success as a player at the next level. His rebounding numbers have taken the slightest dip from last season, in large part due to his positional change, but he continues to be an excellent rebounder for his size and the position he plays.
Young is doing all the right things as far as his reaching the next level is concerned. He has further improved his ability to be an effective scorer away from the basket, both as a shooter and when putting the ball on the floor. Though he still has work to do in several aspects of his game, it is clear he is starting to take steps in the right direction to improve these facets. His frame, athleticism and hustle alone are enough to make him an appetizing prospect, but he has the developing skill set to back it up as well. While right now he looks like he could land anywhere from the late first round to mid-second round at this point, a deep run by Pitt in the NCAA Tournament could only help Young's stock come June.
Sam Young enters the 2008-09 season as a legitimate All-American candidate, as well as a Big East Player of the Year nominee. After beginning his career as a role player, Young broke out of his shell and emerged last season as one of the best players in the Big East (Big East 1st team selection) and the nation (All-American honorable mention). He also earned the Most Improved Player award for the Big East, which is a great testament to his work ethic. Each year he seems to improve a different element of his game which has made him a complete player. If this trend holds true for Young’s senior season, he could be a 1st round pick in the 2009 NBA draft.
Perhaps one of the most impressive things about Young has to do with the physical tools that he was blessed with. At 6”6, Young is extremely well-defined at 210 lbs and exhibits a definite NBA body. He also displays a good deal of athleticism, where he has the ability to change a game with an electrifying dunk, a gravity defying rebound, or a weak side block on a bigger opponent. Although transition opportunities are a bit rarer in the Big East than most conferences, Young has shown the ability to run the floor well when given the chance.
The biggest improvement that Young has made at his time in Pittsburgh has surely been on the offensive end. His mid range jump shot is very effective, as he shoots 50% from the field. He has a high release point and gets good elevation on his shot. He also has a deceptively quick first step, which is due in large part to his adept shooting, which forces defenders to fly out at him. In addition, his very unorthodox pump fake (Young stands straight up on his toes and extends the ball fully above his head on all shot fakes) enables him to get by quicker defenders.
One thing scouts are going to be examining closely is Young’s ball-handling skills. He seems uncomfortable changing directions and dribbling the ball past a defender or in the open court, as the ball certainly decreases his explosion. The other thing that scouts will be looking for is whether or not Young can improve his 3 point range. He’s unquestionably made big strides as he went from shooting only 27% on very few attempts his first two seasons to 43% last season, albeit on just 3 attempts per game. If he can become a more prolific and confident outside shooter, his stock will rise quickly.
Although Young has received much praise regarding his improved offensive skills, he makes his biggest impact on the defensive end. He plays exceptional man to man defense with a certain spirit and energy which is contagious – elevating the defensive efforts of his teammates. His physical attributes don’t hurt him either, as he possesses a long wingspan which he uses to contest every shot and deny passing lanes. His off the ball defense could get better, as he can be late on rotations and gets hung up on pick and rolls. His rebounding however is very good for a player of his size as he averages about 6 a game.
With improved ball-handling skills and increased 3 point range, Young will try to establish himself as a solid first round pick this season, even though his upside won’t be deemed as high as some others due to his advanced age. His physical tools, defensive abilities, and no nonsense attitude will be his strongest selling points.
One of the most improved players in the Big East (and possibly the NCAA), Sam Young has emerged out the shadows (jumping from scoring 7 points in 17 minutes per game as a sophomore to 18 points in 30 minutes as a junior) to develop into a very legitimate draft prospect this season. We talked about Young as someone to keep an eye on in the past due to his terrific physical tools and no-nonsense mentality, and this year he’s gone from potential to production while leading Pitt to the NCAA Tournament and earning first-team All-Big East honors in the process.
Young is still the same chiseled 6-6 bruiser, blessed with terrific strength, length and athleticism, playing primarily as a face the basket power forward on a very undersized Pitt team. He gets his points in a variety of ways—be it spotting up from the perimeter, battling down low, grabbing offensive rebounds, and finishing in transition.
He has a good first step, but is not a very advanced ball-handler, as he doesn’t change directions very well with his dribble, and the ball clearly slows him down. He is able to play off his perimeter shot (often with very effective shot-fakes) to make his way crudely to the basket dribbling with either hand, where he will at times finish with a nice little floater. He doesn’t force the issue too much, seeming to understand his role and limitations quite well, and is very efficient as evidenced by his 51% shooting from the field and 42.4% from behind the arc. Young is terrific finishing around the basket, thanks to his excellent combination of strength, toughness, wingspan, and the fact that he seems to relish contact.
The most interesting development as far as his NBA draft prospects are concerned revolve around the improvement he’s made as an outside shooter this season. He hit only 17 3-pointers in his first two seasons combined at Pitt, on a dismal 27%, but is now shooting nearly 43%, albeit on a limited number of attempts, around three per game. He seems to be very confident in his abilities as a shooter at the moment, but rarely will force the issue if he’s not completely open with his feet set. His release point looks very consistent, but his shot seems to lose effectiveness if he’s forced to shoot the ball off the dribble, or when rushed.
Considering that he’s not the most fluid or natural offensive player you’ll find, Young’s bread and butter at the next level will have to come on the other end of the floor, where thankfully he excels. He’s one of the best man to man defenders you’ll find in the Big East, blessed with terrific physical tools, but also showing a great deal of tenacity on this end to help get the job done. He stays in front of his man with excellent lateral quickness, and does a terrific job using his smothering wingspan to contest almost every shot, even coming up with some blocks in the process. Young’s team defense could still use some work, as he struggles a bit with his awareness defending pick and rolls and such, but he clearly has a great deal of potential in this area. He’s also a very solid rebounder for his size.
Young looks like a clear-cut role player for the next level, a James Posey type small forward who is responsible for locking down his matchup on the defensive end, and then playing within the offense and knocking down open shots when called up on the other. There is definitely a role for a player with his physical tools and skill-set in the League, but he will have to show that he can extend his range out to the NBA 3-point line, as well as improve on his mediocre ½ assist to turnover ratio—if he’s to stick. He’s a bit older than most of the mostly 21 year-olds in his junior class, having turned 23 last week, and thus it would not be too much of a shock to see him enter his name in this year’s draft to see how the NBA values him.
In the past three games, Sam Young has shown both how far he has come since last season and how much he has begun to capitalize on the potential. Not only does Young seem to be a successfully converted perimeter player, but he is excelling in his role as Pitt’s go-to-guy. Against the likes of Toledo, Washington, and the upstart Duquesne Dukes, he has shown his versatility, improvement, and maturity, all reasons why the name Sam Young could be creeping into NBA draft conversations sooner than later.
On the offensive end of the court, Young is really starting to become a consistent offensive threat, and even at this point of the season, is established as the primary offensive option for the undefeated Panthers. Superficially and statistically, he is having a breakout year, more than doubling his sophomore average with 18.1 points per game. However, he is just as impressive when you take a look at actual game tape. Young is a very good spot-up shooter, possessing range out to the NBA three-point line. If he catches the ball with his feet set, he shows good elevation and nice mechanics. One of the most promising aspects of his jump shot, however, is his release, which is consistent every time he shoots the ball. It’s not perfect, but the fact that he’s clearly worked on refining his jump shot is good for his potential at the next level.
While his shot off the dribble is nothing to write home about yet, you can tell that he has been working on it by watching him. He has a loose handle that at this point is a little high, but his motions look fluid enough to suggest that with practice, he should develop a nice mid-range game. This is a relatively new addition this year and certainly something to watch. He is currently shooting almost 60% from the field and over 50% from beyond the arc on the season; those percentages are not inflated either because in nine games, he has already taken half of the attempts he took last season. Such numbers are also impressive because Young is usually guarded by opposing post players (shot blocking extraordinaire Shawn James included) in order to compensate for the three-guard perimeter offense that Pitt usually throws at teams.
Another place where Young is impressive is his work on the offensive boards where he is constantly fighting for offensive rebounds and getting putbacks on the offensive glass. He is a small guy, but it is encouraging to see him converted into a perimeter player while still not afraid to bang on the offensive glass. He is also getting to the foul line and making free throws, improving to 77% after shooting 60% last year. Young excels in fast-break situations as well, doing a great job of finishing or passing it off under pressure. Also impressive is his ability to find offense with Pitt’s guards shooting as many ill-advised jump shots as they did against Washington and Duquesne. This is good for his potential at the next level because he’s not going to be a first option in the NBA, and will have to be patient to find his opportunities; this is what he has been doing this year.
However, the most impressive improvement for Young has been his successful transition to small forward. Often times during his freshman and sophomore campaign, he would use his bulk to play inside rather than the perimeter. However, now he is a completely different player, not only capable of hitting jump shots, but also knowledgeable about where to be and to play on the perimeter. It seems as though he is experiencing a relatively smooth transition from the low block to the wing.
Judging his defense is difficult at this point because when Pitt is not playing a zone, Young is often stuck guarding big men. That being said, his post defense is pretty lackluster. He is playing defense against some pretty undersized big men and, while he is giving a noble effort, it’s clear that he can hardly stand his ground in the post at this level let alone at the next. However, he shows good timing, athleticism, and decent foot speed, which suggests that he has the potential to be a good defender at the next level. He uses this athleticism to get rebounds and can be described as aggressive and relentless on the defensive boards as well as on the offensive boards.
It doesn’t seem like Young is not going to be an impact player at the next level, but there is no reason to think that he can’t be good. If this year, this past week especially, has shown us anything, it is that Sam Young is a prospect that could shoot up draft boards for this year and next year if he continues to improve at this rate. With Pitt looking to make a run in the Big East and NCAA Tournament, anything is possible.
Pitt snuck up on quite a few people last year, and one Panther that could sneak up on many in 06-07 is sophomore bruiser Sam Young. Cut from the same mold as Big East foe Jeff Adrien and other prototypical undersized 4-men like PJ Tucker and Jeremis Smith, Young is a near-dominant NCAA-level player when he utilizes his natural strengths near the basket. While he eventually needs to move his game to the perimeter, he would be better served sticking with what he does best for now.
Young is built like a football player, listed at 6'6, 215, but appearing much larger. He is quite explosive for someone with his body type, and long arms allow him to play much bigger than he actually is. Young loves to get physical in the paint, and is quite adept at exploding to the rim powerfully and quickly to make up for his lack of size. He is certainly more of a slasher than a back to the basket player, but Young is comfortable operating in both capacities when matchups call for it. Ever since Ben Howland took over, it seems like Pitt has always featured at least one of those nasty enforcer types that makes any foray into the lane a risky endeavor. Young is poised to carry on that tradition, and do a darn good job of it.
At the same time, Young will sometimes get a bit too perimeter oriented. With his professional future coming on the perimeter, it appears that the sophomore would rather be a perimeter player on the offensive end. Young has the tools to do the job outside, with a nice midrange jumper, a passable handle, and some explosiveness. At the same time, he is far from being ready to make the switch to full-time wing. He needs a lot more polish, and his body makeup is certainly that of a big man's. Instead of forcing something that isn't entirely there just yet, Young would be much better suited playing that blue-collar role on the offensive end.
Make sure to focus in on Sam Young at least once this year. You will like what you see, if you catch him on a good day. Physical intensity won't be in short supply, and you might just get to see him tear the rim off the backboard. His NBA future is anything but secure, but he has enough power to his game and aggressive nature required of a player with his projected role.