ECU point guard maturing in his second season

Published 5:49 pm Wednesday, December 24, 2008

By By BRIAN HAINES, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — The ability has always been there, but now that his maturity has caught up to his lightning-quick, 5-10, 165-pound frame, Brock Young is starting to develop into the point guard Purple and Gold fans dreamed of when he signed with East Carolina two years ago.
Physical talent was never an issue for the sophomore point guard, who is more known for his crossover than John Edwards, except Young’s supernatural abilities are legitimate.
Last year as a freshman Young served as an apprentice under steady senior point guard Darrel Jenkins, and played about 15 minutes per game.
His cameo’s always elicited a response, good or bad. There would be moments when fans would watch him slice through a defense like a Ginsu knife through a freshly cooked Christmas ham, leaving fans to wonder “did you just see that.”
Then there would be moments when he would over dribble, attempt an And-1 style pass only to see the ball bounce out of bounds, leaving fans to wonder “did you just see that.”
Trials and tribulations of a freshman point guard.
With Jenkins graduated and gone, the offense was handed over to Young, and so was the team.
The keys to the brand new car have been firmly placed into the 20-year old’s hands, and so far not a dent or a scratch.
At 8-3, East Carolina has sped off to its best start in years, and Young with his Conference USA-leading, and NCAA Div. I one best 8.3 assists per night has proven he belongs behind the wheel.
The set up man has embraced the leadership role saying, “It feels good because I have my teammates’ trust in me, and I know the coaches trust me too.”
Young said his study of Jenkins last season, and his observations of other assist men has helped speed up the learning process.
Young was also tutored by his uncle Daniel Young, who starred at Wake Forest over 15 years ago.
With Young in the drivers’ seat, the East Carolina offense has been clicking on all cylinders. The Pirates’ 81.9 points per game is tops in the Conference, while its .47 shooting percentage is second only to Marshall (.476).
Both are strong indicators of good point guard play. Another is that some of his teammates scoring numbers are the best they have ever been in a Pirate uniform.
Last year as a junior, gunslinger Sam Hinnant averaged 11 points a night, while this year his average is up six points and is eight in scoring in C-USA.
Teammate James Legan has seen is scoring average double since the 2007-08 season as he went from seven points per game, to 14.
To be fair, some of the increase is because of an added year of experience and a more increased number of minutes and role in the offense. However, it is also a product of getting the ball to the right people at the right time.
McCarthy said Young has made big strides in his game management.
Sometimes keeping the ball in Young’s hands is the best scoring option as well. Case in point, his career-high, 25-point performance in ECU’s 87-76 loss to N.C. State on Wednesday night.
The Wolfpack locked up on Hinnant and Legan, and with center Chad Wynn and power forward Darrius Morrow in foul trouble, the scoring burden was placed solely on Young’s shoulders.
The sophomore didn’t blink, as he put on a show in his return back to Raleigh where he once starred at Broughton High, and scored 15 points in a row in the second half to almost will the Pirates to victory.
Adding insult to injury, or better put, injury to insult, Young got his two front teeth knocked out, when with under four minutes left to play, NCSU’s Javier Gonzalez’ elbow smashed into Young’s face.
With the game still with in range for the Pirates, Young didn’t miss a beat and played through the pain for the remainder of the game.
What else would you expect from a leader.