Redshirt sophomore guard Joseph Young says he wants to be the best basketball player in UH history.
On the list of legends to pass is his father, Michael Young, who was part of Phi Slamma Jama — a team that made two consecutive national title games. Michael led the Cougars in scoring in 1983 with 17.3 points per game, and his retired jersey number hangs next to Clyde Drexler’s in the rafters at Hofheinz Pavilion.
Joseph said he is working hard to recapture the greatness at UH that his father once was a part of.
While the Cougars held summer workouts at 7 a.m., Joseph woke up at 5:30 a.m. to hit the weight room before going to practice. Joseph still works out before practice begins.
“If you bring hard work and be an everyday guy and practice hard, it will be easier in the game,” Joseph said. “If you come out in practice giving 100 percent, in the game it will be 110 percent because you’ve seen it before.”
Joseph’s role within the team will change this season. He will shift from the primary ball handler and point guard to shooting guard — the position he played when he averaged 27 points per game in his senior season at Jack Yates High School.
Head coach James Dickey is expecting more from Joseph as a leader coming into his third season in the program.
“I think he’s a lot more relaxed, a lot more comfortable. He understands not only the way we want to play, but his game has evolved to more than just thinking about shooting the basketball,” Dickey said. “He does a good job of getting his teammates involved.”
Michael said the responsibility to succeed is on Joseph.
“I don’t make it easy. I’m not going to make your bed for you. I’ll show you how to make it. That’s something that (Joseph) wants to do,” Michael said. “Because when that game is being played, I can’t play it for you. I can’t make shots for you or play defense for you.”
He has seen Joseph’s love for the sport from an early age.
“Even when Joe was a little kid in his baby crib he had a basketball goal there,” Michael said. “He’s always loved the game.”
Joseph has been a basketball aficionado for as long as he can remember. At Yates, where he was a part of the 34-0 squad that won the Class 4A state championship team in 2009, Joseph brought a basketball to school every day and dribbled it in the hallways to the chagrin of some teachers and administrators.
“When I was born, I had a basketball in my hand, my mom told me. When I was younger, I always slept with a basketball for some reason. I really want to follow great players and become the best one to come out of Houston,” Joseph said. “Going down through the tunnel to the court, just seeing my dad’s jersey up there printed and retired — it really motivates me.”