Young Money: Junior Transfer Enjoys Break-Out Game Against Ohio State
Dec. 11, 2011
With 29 seconds remaining on the clock in No. 13 Kansas’ 78-67 victory against No. 2 Ohio State Saturday afternoon, junior forward Kevin Young exited the game to a standing ovation from the Jayhawk faithful in Allen Fieldhouse.
The 169th-straight soldout crowd of 16,300 fans recognized how critical Young’s 14 points and four rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench were in KU’s win. Ohio State head coach Thad Matta also recognized the significance of the performance, singling out Young right away in the second sentence of his opening statement to the media following the game.
“Obviously Kevin Young gets the game ball,” said Matta. “He was the difference in the game, and he was 2-for-3 (from three-point range). As I told our guys, we lost to a great, great basketball team in a phenomenal environment.”
Young made his first six shots from the field, including two three-pointers. He added an assist in the second half when he elevated for what appeared to be another three-point attempt, but instead he found a wide-open Thomas Robinson under the basket for an easy dunk to give the Jayhawks a 54-44 lead with 10:33 remaining. Kansas head coach Bill Self hoped the game will serve as a breakout performance for Young to become a more consistent contributor for the rest of the season.
“Kevin Young was just fabulous,” said Self. “Kevin really bailed us out. I thought he was just terrific. That’s the Kevin Young we thought we recruited. Maybe this will give him the confidence moving forward. We could use another weapon.”
In addition to his points and rebounds, Young contributed with key hustle plays. Young took two offensive charges from Ohio State players in the paint and also led the Jayhawks with three floor burns in the contest. When asked what part of his day he was most proud of, Young cited something else that didn’t appear in the box score.
“Setting screens to get my teammates open,” said Young, who transferred to Kansas after playing two seasons at Loyola-Marymount where he averaged 10.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. “I don’t think many players view setting screens as an important part of the game. Not only did it help my teammates get open, but it helped me get open as well.”
Self said Young could earn more playing time by continuing to exhibit the hustle and energy on the court that he showed Saturday.
“Kevin had as much to do with us winning the game as anything,” said Self. “I haven’t seen that (the hustle plays from Young). He hasn’t been defending like that. He hasn’t been aggressive like that. He hasn’t been a loose-ball guy like that in practice, but today he was a combination of everything. I thought he was terrific. He made a lot of basketball plays. We were just much better with him in the game.”
Young will now focus on building on his Ohio State showing as the team approaches Big 12 Conference play in January.
“I have to keep working hard in practice and focus on the little things,” said Young. “I have to get a little bit better on defense and try to make my teammates as good as they can be.”
Kansas’ next game will be against Davidson in the M&I Kansas City Shootout at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Monday, Dec. 19, at 8 p.m.