Kyle Young was never supposed to be an Ohio State Buckeye. A state champion his senior year from Jackson, Ohio, Young was committed to Butler. Then, when Chris Holtmann decided to leave Butler and accept the head coaching job at Ohio State, the forward decided to follow his coach and join the Buckeyes as well.
Young barely had a chance to prove himself during his freshman season, only receiving just over eight minutes per game in 25 games. Then his sophomore season, he was a key part of Ohio State’s frontcourt, starting in 14 games (played in 31). Yet, after suffering a stress fracture in his leg in mid-January, Young wasn’t 100% the rest of the season. Given the type of player he is, the nagging injury completely changed his game.
Now fully healthy, the junior has had a solid start to the 2019-20 campaign for the Buckeyes. The starting forward alongside junior big man Kaleb Wesson in the frontcourt, Young has made his presence known in the first two games of the season. In the season opener against Cincinnati, Ohio State was in search of their first points of the season. Nearly eight minutes into the game, the Buckeyes were still searching for that first made basket. Then, with 12:20 remaining in the first half, Young was the one who got it, getting a dunk for Ohio State’s first points of the season.
Those two points weren’t the only ones he had last Wednesday night. In fact, he led the team with 14 points. To make that even more impressive, Young grabbed 13 rebounds (seven offensive) and was 6-for-7 from the field, along with also having one steal and one block. Prior to the win over Cincinnati to tipoff the 2019-20 season, Young had only reached double figures in the scoring column just four times in his career. He had never grabbed more than eight rebounds in a single game. The 6-foot-8, 205-pound forward proved that when healthy, he can be the type of do-it-all forward that this team needs and can thrive with the type of post player Kaleb Wesson is down low.
“This is his kind of a game where he could really impact it,” Holtmann said of Young. “He’s healthy, and I think that really matters with a guy who his legs are so important to him. Kyle’s got one thing on his mind when he plays, and that is Ohio State winning. That’s the only thing that matters to him. That’s true of all of our guys, but I think you see particularly in a game against an in-state rival, that means something to him.”
Against UMass-Lowell in the second game of the season on Sunday, Young added 10 points, four rebounds, one steal, and one block while making 4-of-6 shots from the field. Once again, he was not only efficient but was one of Ohio State’s top scorers and one of five players in double figures. For just the second time in his career, he had back-to-back games with at least 10 points. A solid start to his junior season.
Through two games, Young is now averaging 12 points (team-high), 8.5 rebounds, one block, and one steal in 22.5 minutes per game while also shooting a team-best 76.9 percent from the field. Obviously, when the competition gives tougher, things could change, but so far, the forward has proven that he can be the type of mismatch that the Buckeyes need in the frontcourt. Young has the size to compete with opposing forwards and the athleticism to get past them on the outside. Add in that he is now willing to drive the ball past the opposing defender and it makes him even more of a threat with the ball.
Alongside Wesson, the Jackson native seems to be the ideal complement to the big man in the middle. If he can continue to produce both on the scoreboard while also being efficient, Young will have a vital role in the success of this team. Finally 100% healthy for basically the first time since early January of last season, he has shown that a healthy Kyle Young is the best Kyle Young.
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