Young Provides Spark off the Bench in Rout

Nov. 11, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kevin Young found himself checking into the game earlier than he might have expected in his first collegiate basketball game at the University of Kansas. Young propelled the Jayhawks to a blowout win over Towson in the team’s 2011-12 debut, 100-54.

After Thomas Robinson picked up a couple early fouls, KU head coach Bill Self quickly relied on his bench. Enter: the junior forward from Perris, Calif.

“Get ready to play,” Young said. “I don’t think I look at it as a good thing that T-Rob (Robinson) had to leave the game (because of foul trouble) because we need every player on the team, but while I was in there I just tried to contribute as much as I could on offense and defense.”

It didn’t take long for Young to get situated in front of 16,300 fans at another sold-out Allen Fieldhouse. Off of a missed three-point shot by senior Tyshawn Taylor, Young maintained good position to corral the offensive rebound and make an easy layup for his first basket as a Jayhawk.

He would not be finished, however, as on the next play he knocked the ball away from his defender and went coast-to-coast for an easy two-handed dunk. The dunk forced a timeout by Towson as the Jayhawks began to distance themselves from the Tigers, 19-5.

“It was pretty fly,” said Young about his first dunk at KU. “It was a great feeling.”

Young would add another thunderous dunk in the second half of an inbounds pass that sent the Fieldhouse into a frenzy.

“Dunking is my favorite part of the game because it gets everybody into it,” he exclaimed.

Coach Self seemed pretty pleased with the junior’s performance as well.

“Maybe the light came on because he looked good,” said Self about Young’s performance. “He was aggressive and he got his hands on some balls. Thomas (Robinson) had 11 rebounds, but I think Kevin (Young) was our best rebounder tonight. I thought in 14 minutes he maximized his time out there without question.”

In only 14 minutes of action, Young was indeed very productive as he finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. His 13 points came off six-for-seven shooting from the field and even knocked down a three-pointer.

Young wasn’t the only player to give the Jayhawks a boost off the bench as KU outscored Towson 38-5 in bench scoring. Kansas finished the game with six players scoring in double-digits, led by Robinson’s 18.

It was a pretty impressive outing considering Young wasn’t even part of a college basketball team last year.

“It gives me a lot of confidence after sitting out all of last year,” Young said. “It was one of the longest years of my life. Just trying to find time to work on my game and go to school at the same time. I’m just glad I got through it.”

Coach Self is optimistic that good things are on the horizon for Young.

“I hope this was his coming out party,” Coach Self said. “I’ve been on him kind of hard. He hadn’t really got it yet because he’s a thinker and not a reactor, so he’s been slow and not aggressive. I think tonight was really good for him.”

The Jayhawks will face a little better competition in their next game when they take on the second-ranked team in the country, Kentucky.

“As a team, we’ve been thinking about it a lot,” said Young about the Wildcats. “We just want to go out and show everybody that we can play.”

Kansas will have its shot to prove to the country if its No. 13-ranked 2011-12 team is one to be reckoned with on Tuesday, Nov. 15, when the Jayhawks travel to New York City, N.Y., to take part in the Champions Classic against No. 2 Kentucky. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. CT and will be televised on ESPN.