Taylor Young is a 26 year old 193cm guard from Hawthorne, California that recently played his rookie season as a professional with Rockhampton Rockets (Australia-QBL) averaging 14,5ppg, 3,3rpg and 2,0apg. He played at Bellevue (NAIA) winning the 2014 and 2015 MCAC tournaments. He opted to paly his senior year at Warner Pacific (NAIA) playing 33 games averaging 17.6ppg, 5.3rpg, 3.2apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 53.3%, 3PT: 43.4%, FT: 76.3%. He spoke to German Hoops about Basketball.
Taylor thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been?
Thanks for the interview man! Since I got back from Australia, I was back in Los Angeles seeing family. Now I’m in Arizona with my older brother just staying ready.
Technically you aren´t a professional rookie anymore simply because you had a one month rookie season in Australia. Do you in a sense still feel like a rookie waiting for that next game to begin?
No I don’t feel like a rookie anymore. The experience for a month in Australia in a respected league in the QBL, with good talent. So I know what to expect going forward.
How hungry are you currently for continuing your professional career? Now that you have dipped your feet into the water, is the desire to get back even greater than it was before you got to Australia?
I am super eager to continue my professional career, thankfully my short stint this past season in Australia led to me signing a deal for the 2018 season which starts in May with the Port City Power in Gladstone. So it was a blessing. My desire to do well and win is super high. Still proving myself.
Talk about the difficult waiting process from your last NAIA game with Warner Pacific on March 11, 2016 to your first professional game on May 6 2017 in Australia. Was there ever any doubt that you may not find a dream and chase your dream?
Oh yeah for sure, it’s always hard coming from a small school regardless of the numbers you put up. But my parents and family in general as well as those close to me believed in me and my dream so I had to continue to work to achieve. So far so good.
Even if it was only for a month in May 2017, you did latch on to the Rockhampton Rockets (Australia-QBL) playing 4 games averaging 14,5ppg, 3,3rpg and 2,0apg. Despite it being only a very short time, what kind of an experience was this for you and how did this brief professional moment help your game grow?
It was amazing! Australia is beautiful and the people of Rockhampton made me feel at ease. The fans were great the team was good I loved the experience. As far as my game, it made me realize that I need to get stronger and build more muscle, because the game is faster and the players are bigger and stronger. It also gave me that extra confidence and feeling that I am good enough to be a pro ball player. But I think I’ll do much better this upcoming season.
You have been having to prove yourself since coming out out of Hawthorne HS. You played at two NAIA schools and now are starting at the bottom again as a professional. What drives you most to always have the strength to keep this Cinderella story going?
It’s always been my dream to play professional basketball. The belief in myself and achieving this goal and breaking through that wall, and the feeling when you do. The feeling is amazing, so I will continue to work and try my best to keep attaining the goal each year until I can’t anymore.
Let´s talk about your game. You were a scoring guard at Bellevue (NAIA) and at Warner Pacific(NAIA). What other strengths do you possess in your game that makes you a valuable player?
Other than scoring, I believe I am an above average playmaker and also good help-side defender. Led the team in charges both my years at Bellevue and Warner Pacific. Also having over 100 assists each year I played.
Your also a guard that can really fill up the stat sheet, but what would you say is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
I think I am super coachable, and my willingness to sacrifice for the betterment of the team. Diving for loose balls and things like that. Not a lot of imports who come in are willing to do things like that.
If you could sell yourself best as to why you could help any team now how would you do it?
My humbleness and willing to do what the coach ask for the betterment of the team. I just love hooping at a high level. My slashing and ability to create for myself and others is good too. But my teammates love playing with me and I think that will elevate myself and my teammates on whatever team I am on.
You played at Bellevue (NAIA) winning the 2014 and 2015 MCAC tournaments. Which one for you was the sweetest?
I would have to say the 2015 at Bellevue was the sweetest. Because I hit the game winning shot to win us the game and the championship. That whole game was fun, and winning with your brothers like that is something you don’t forget
. How did Jared Valentine give you that extra push and help you continue to groom and prepare you best for a professional career in your senior year at Warner Pacific?
Coach Valentine is an unbelievable motivator, he gave me the freedom to play my game. No rules, restrictions, etc. and as a result I had the best season of my college career and was an All-American. I respect and admire the kind of guy he is and his basketball mind overall.
You had 20 cm´s on him, but who won a one on one in practice you or Earl Jones?
Earl is a tough cover for anybody, we would go back and fourth. But he’s so quick I’d have to try and back him down most times during practice and in our king of the court games after practice. He’s a killer man.
Who was the toughest player that you battled ever that is in the NBA now?
Jrue Holiday was for sure the toughest. We played each other in High School my jr year and he torched us. Think he had like 30 and 20 rebounds that game.
If you had to construct your own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you chose?
Kobe, MJ, Lebron and Magic in no particular order because to me they are all debatable
Lebron James failed to win his fourth NBA title and is still three away from Michael Jordan. Where does Lebron stand right now in your opinion in the never ending debate of who is the best of all-time?
That’s tough but he’s right there man. Bron I think will be when it’s all said and done the greatest of all time.
There has been criticism of Russell Westbrook to be focusing more on rebounding to help inflate his stats and possibilities of getting triple doubles instead of focusing on his defensive assignments. Do you feel that this is a fair assessment to the player Russell Westbrook?
Having played against Russell Westbrook in High School. I don’t think he is chasing the stats to get the triple double. He literally had to do almost everything for that team so yes I think he took plays off on defense. But I think that’ll change now that Paul George is on the team.
How do you summarize the 2017 NBA Draft. What sleepers do you see playing a role in the NBA?
D.J. Wilson from Michigan who was picked by Milwaukee I think will be really good in the NBA. Dude is big and versatile.
Where will the journey of the Houston Rockets go this season with Chris Paul and James Harden in the back court. Do they have enough to make a serious run at the title or is something missing?
I think they really do. James Harden did a lot for them last season so adding CP3 is a plus and can only get better this season. But who knows because the Warriors are on another planet with their talent right now lol
How do you rate the Kyrie Irving-Isaiah Thomas trade? Who got the better deal and which team will profit better in the long run?
I think it was a good trade, I don’t think Isaiah Thomas is respected in the NBA because of his lack of size. He’s a high caliber PG in the NBA but I think the Celtics in the long run will profit more.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Crazy I watched the movie “girls trip” last night and it was hilarious! You should give it a watch.
Thanks Taylor for the chat.