The David Young File
High School: New Castle High School
College: Xavier, then North Carolina Central
Drafted: 2004 secound round (pick 41) by Seattle
Born: August 18, 1981, New Castle, PA
2004 Stats: 20.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.4 apg
When the Seattle SuperSonics made North Carolina Central guard David Young their third pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, number 41 overall, the reaction from fans and media alike at The Furtado Center was a collective, "Who?" Young didn't even get a write-up in the NBA's official draft guide, and when ESPN's Mike Tirico announced the pick, he said that Young was from North Carolina Charlotte.
Savvy hoop fans, however, have known for a while that Young was a sleeper in this year's draft.
"A lot of gym buzz late in the week focused on David Young, an unheralded player who reportedly rained shame on Kirk Snyder in a Seattle workout recently," reported HoopsHype.com's George Rodecker from Chicago earlier this month. "Young, a one-time Xavier player, finished up his college career at North Carolina Central in fine fashion. Known as D.Y., he may have originally been part of the workout schedule to push other players. But after the Snyder bashing, he’s continued to climb on several NBA teams list. Already he’s had solid workouts for the Lakers, Wizards and Rockets. One GM, choosing to remain anonymous, suggested that he may be drafted between 38 and 50. There are reports that the Spurs, Pistons and Heat may all bring him in, and Seattle wants another look. Young is a 80 percent free-throw shooter who hits for nearly 40 percent from long distance. He’s a mystery player and has captured a lot of attention as the draft draws near."
Yesterday, Rodecker was even more laudatory about Young.
"Last week, we mentioned North Carolina Central’s David Young was making inroads in his workouts and had attracted attention," he wrote. "He has continued his explosive debut on the workout trail. Second trips, impressive one-and-done visits and now Young is being mentioned as a late first-round sleeper with tremendous poise and work ethic. We’re hearing he may go as high as 27, but could fall to 44."
Young started his college career at Xavier as a Prop 48 player, leaving him ineligible as a freshman. During his second season of basketball, Young became a starter in all 30 games for the Musketeers and averaged 8.0 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. As a junior, however, Young lost playing time and left the team midway through the season. The breakup was not acrimonious, and Young was able to keep his scholarship and graduate from Xavier with a degree in criminal justice.
Granted an extra year of eligibility because he graduated in four years, Young wasn't quite ready to give up on college basketball. He landed at North Carolina Central thanks to a distant relationship with the school's Head Coach, Phil Spence, and a desire to play in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Because NCCU is Division II, Young was immediately eligible, and he put together a fine senior season.
Young averaged 20.5 points per game on 49.5% shooting and was named All-CIAA. He also earned Black College All-Star Classic MVP honors by scoring 21 points in that game to lead his East team to an 82-80 victory.
Still, Young was only on the fringes of the NBA radar before he began working out for teams. It helped Young get a workout in Seattle that one of his assistant coaches at NCCU was Sonics Coach Nate McMillan's older brother, Randy.
While not using the phrase "rained shame", the Sonics brass confirmed that Young impressed them during workouts.
"He is a tough defender and good scorer, he averaged 22 points (last season)," said McMillan. "He really competes when he’s out on the floor. His strength is just his mental toughness. He was all about business (when he worked out here). A few teams had him in twice to look at him and his workouts for us were really good. He was all business. Defensively, he can hold his own, and offensively, he’s a scorer. Looking at those factors and knowing we’re looking for that kind of toughness at (pick) 41, we felt like that was pretty good."
"We brought him in for a workout, liked him, and then brought him in for a second workout," added GM Rick Sund. "We liked him very much."
There are some similarities between Young's story and that of current Sonics guard Ronald "Flip" Murray. Murray played at Shawn University, which is also in the CIAA, and he was the 42nd pick two years ago before breaking out this season. The Sonics aren't expecting Young to be that pleasant of a surprise - but the possibility also can't be ruled out.
"He does have an opportunity to make our team," concluded McMillan. "We’ll look at him in summer league."