When a player transfers from a program, it can often leave a coach feeling bitter. But, a year after Kevin Young transferred from Loyola Marymount in an effort to improve his academics, his former coach couldn't say enough nice things about the newest addition to the Kansas Jayhawks.
KU coach Bill Self announced Friday that Young, who was all set to play at San Diego State in 2011-12, will instead transfer to Kansas. Young, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound junior forward, will be eligible to play immediately. And, according to Loyola Marymount coach Max Good, that means the Jayhawks just became a much more athletic team in their quest for an eighth straight Big 12 regular-season title.
"He has a terrific motor," Good said. "He can run all night and day, and he jumps extremely well. He'll make plays where he comes out of nowhere to tip balls in. He won't even be in your peripheral vision."
Young, a native of Perris, Calif., can play as a tall small forward or a thin power forward. He gives the Jayhawks more depth at two positions, becoming the fifth scholarship player on KU's roster that is at least 6 feet 7.
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The Jayhawks, who now have two scholarships remaining for next season, certainly needed another body. But Self believes Kansas got more than that.
"I thought we definitely needed a playmaker," Self said in a statement, "and we were able, at a late date, to fall into Kevin, and we couldn't be happier. He's 6-8, thin and can play multiple positions. He reminds me a lot of Julian Wright — very bouncy, very athletic. He will most definitely be an impact player for us next season."
If Young lives up to that prediction by his new coach, it will put less pressure on freshmen big men Jamari Traylor and Braeden Anderson, neither of whom was a highly-rated prospects by recruiting services, to contribute right away.
Young started 62 of 65 games he played at Loyola Marymount of the West Coast Conference, averaging 9.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a freshman and breaking the school's freshman records for rebounds (224), steals (51) and blocked shots (34). He once recorded 19 rebounds in one game.
After his freshman year in July 2009, Young, whose mother is Puerto Rican, played for Puerto Rico in the U19 World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand, averaging 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds in the tournament as Puerto Rico went 5-4.
During his sophomore year, Young averaged 10.7 points and 5.6 rebounds before leaving the program. He completed his associate's degree at San Bernardino (Calif.) Community College and volunteered as an assistant coach at Barstow (Calif.) Community College during that time.
Young reportedly signed a grant-in-aid agreement to play at San Diego State. He could not be reached for comment Friday to explain his decision to play at Kansas.
"This is a great opportunity for me, and I'm looking forward to playing at Kansas," Young said in a statement. "They take a lot of pride in basketball and academics here, and I'm ready for that challenge. I'm looking forward to working with my teammates and coaches and becoming a Jayhawk."
Good said that, like many freshmen at Loyola Marymount, Young was not fully ready for the academic workload.
"It's a Jesuit school, and the term student-athlete does apply here," Good said.
Good says that Young is not a "serious threat in the half-court" offensively, but he is capable of changing a game in the open floor.
"He's fearless," Good said. "I don't think you can name a player that he would be afraid to go up against."