Young's life is some fun
By David Williams
Published in Sports on March 10, 2004 1:58 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Make no mistake about it -- Victor Young is living a charmed life these days.
The sophomore guard from Goldsboro High School smiles a lot as he practices with the Trojan team. There is a lot to smile about -- Young and his teammates have secured the school's first-ever invitation to a NCAA Division II tournament, and the Trojans will get their first chance to play on a national stage Saturday when Mount Olive meets Alderson-Broaddus at Pfeiffer University in the east regional's first round.
And Young had a big part in getting the Trojans to this historic point.
Victor Young has come on strong since arriving at Mount Olive College. He is one of only five Wayne County players in recent memory to play in an NCAA basketball tournament at any level.
Young has made a little local history as well, becoming the first Wayne County native to take part in an NCAA men's tournament at any level since Chuck Kornegay in 1994 with Villanova. Other Wayne County natives in Young's company include Keith Faison (Lenoir-Rhyne), Cedric Broadhurst (Charlotte) and Cecil Exum (North Carolina). Former Southern Wayne player ChoRhonda Gwaltney made an NCAA Women's Tournament appearance with UNC-Greensboro in the 1990s.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Young has had a sophomore season most juniors or seniors would envy. He's averaged nearly eight and a half points a game and reached double digits in scoring nine times. He shoots 46 percent from the floor and made 37 steals.
Young's favorite statistic, however, is not on the charts.
"I'd bet I lead the team in taking charges," he said with his trademark smile.
Young's pride in that statistic is obvious. And to Trojans head coach Bill Clingan, it's something he doesn't need to go to a record book and verify.
"It's his competitive spirit," Clingan said. "A lot of guys won't take charges. He steps right up and takes it."
Young attributes it to the emphasis his high school coach, Randy Tilley, placed on it in his prep years.
"If you missed a chance to take a charge, you were going to hear about it," Young said. "Coach Tilley was defense first. If you missed taking a charge, you weren't going to play."
"He was a pretty boy," said Tilley, now at Mount Olive Middle School. "His sophomore year I preached to them all to take a charge. It's hard to teach them to do it, but once they learn it, you can take a lot of things away. Victor was one of the best I ever had at it."
Young's defensive abilities are just one of many things Clingan liked when he signed Young. He had to throw a lot at him once his redshirt season was over, moving him to point guard last season to help a thin spot.
Young proved his versatility by stepping up to the responsibility, but it was apparent Young was not at his most comfortable playing point.
"We moved him to off-guard, because he really is a two or three guard," said Clingan. "He is tough with the catch-and-shoot, or as a slasher. His versatility has paid dividends."
"He was a great slasher in high school," said Tilley. "Quick on the first step, then he explodes on you."
But whether it is point, wing or water boy, Young wants to contribute.
"Last year, I was a little hesitant about shooting," Young said. "This year, I have more confidence. I let my defense guide my offense. Last year, I was timid and second-guessing myself. Now, if I get an open look, it's automatic."
Confidence seems to be abounding on the Mount Olive squad as the time to play in the NCAA tournament nears. Young said he knew the team's hard work would pay off as the team went through the CVAC tournament.
"We knew we'd be facing Pfeiffer," he said. "Queens was tough too, but we worked hard the whole week and were ready to go get it done."
Young had an impressive showing at the tournament with 13 points against Queens and nine in the finals loss to Pfeiffer.
Tilley can see the improvement in Young's game when he watches him play.
"Bill (Clingan) has done a good job with his knowledge of the game," Tilley said. "His shot and his ball-handling has improved."
"I can't be more pleased with anyone than I am with Victor," said Clingan. "His presence as a person and as a player came 100 percent since the day he arrived. Whatever needs to be done, he does it."
"He's a great kid, with a supportive and smart family," said Tilley. "His potential is still unlimited."
Young said he and his teammates are not going to be so thrilled about getting to this point that they forget to see the opportunity in front of them.
"There's more to do," he said. We're not satisfied with just getting here.
"Still," he said with that smile flashing, "It can't get a lot better than this right now."
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