Young looks to forge familiar path
As the crowd of almost 4,500 stood anxiously watching redshirt sophomore guard Joseph Young sink four three-pointers and lead the UH to a 13-year-coming win against Texas, no one was thinking of his father’s retired jersey hanging high above the court.
Instead, as Young leaped into the student section, the fans thought only of this new generation.
With an average of 18.54 points per game, Joseph is ranked among C-USA’s top individual leaders in scoring, three-point field goal percentage and three-point field goals made per game. He also led the Cougars this season in minutes played, steals, three-pointers made and three-point attempts, and he received All-Freshman team honors along with sophomore forward TaShawn Thomas last year.
Although Michael Young’s jersey casts a big shadow after having been worn during the Phi Slama Jama era by the All-American and UH Hall of Honor inductee, it hasn’t kept Joseph out of the light.
“He’s a different type of player than his father was, and he knows that. I think he embraces and respects that fact and has great admiration for his dad playing during one of the greatest basketball eras of all time,” said head coach James Dickey\. “But he is just trying to be Joseph, not Michael.”
Waking up at 5:30 a.m. for his own pre-practice workout, Joseph Young says his confidence comes from the gym and from bettering himself. He even opted for the jersey number zero to remind himself of where he started.
“I choose number zero because I was nothing at first,” he said. “Now, I’m getting better.”
In high school, Joseph led the Yates Lions to their first set of back-to-back state championships. Averaging 27.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.8 assists per game, he was named Texas Gatorade Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year and selected to the All-State team his senior year.
After sitting out a year, he became one of only six players to compete in all 30 games for the Cougars as a freshman. Dickey and assistant coach Alvin Brooks have now come to rely on the 6-foot-3-inch Houston native for his consistency, efficiency and scoring.
“We look to Joe to continue to give us consistent effort on both ends of the court and get us off to a good start. We need him to help us get through rough patches when we struggle and then help us finish the game,” Brooks said.
“That’s a lot of responsibility but that is what we have come to expect from him. He is just fearless when it comes to his ability to score or make plays to help his team win when the game is hanging in the balance.”
Joseph said he expects nothing less and looks to the summer to continue to improve his game once again.
“I’m going to have a big time summer and work harder than I did this past summer. Work harder, get better and become a better teammate by helping these other guys get in here and do it with me,” Joseph said.
Adorned with tattoos of memories including a large one of his father, Joseph said he is never too far from his family history especially when he is in Hofheinz, but he sees this only as motivation.
“It’s just basketball. There’s no pressure or anything. I’m just to trying to go out there and beat (my dad’s) records,” Joseph said. “I want to do what he did but better.”