Josh Young is a 30 year old 185cm guard going into his ninth professional season and third with SC Rasta Vechta (Germany-BBL). Last season he played Rasta Vechta (Germany-ProA playing 38 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 46.6%, FT: 69.6%. He has had a solid professional career and played three seasons in the easyCredit BBL with the Tigers Tuebinbgen and also sampled Pro A experience with Vechta and Nurnberg. As a rookie he played with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen (Germany-ProB). Before turning professional, he played with Drake(NCAA) from 2006-201 playing a total of 126 NCAA games. Germanhoops.com has interviewed the American often in the past and felt it was time for a chat again earlier in the summer.
Josh thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you and how is your summer been going for you?
I´m currently in OKC just working out and getting ready for the upcoming season. Things have been going well. It’s nice to be back home around the fam.
I have had the pleasure to interview you very many times, but I have to admit haven´t talked to you since the 2013-2014 season and thought it was time for a new interview. How much has time flown by since your last season with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen?
It seems like such a long time ago but it’s amazing how quickly that time has passed. Many things have happened and changed since then but I’m extremely grateful to be where I’m at today.
Before we get to last season, I want to catch up with you a bit with the time from 2013-2017. After three very solid seasons in the BBL, you played the last four years in the Pro A with two seasons with Nurnberg and two seasons with Vechta. Was your career low having to leave Vechta the first time. How tough mentally was this for you and what made you stronger?
I think anyone who has suffered from a major injury (potentially career ending) understands how difficult it can be to always remain positive and keep the right perspective of things during a time like this. That time for me was one that really stretched me as a person and pushed me to my limits both physically and mentally. At the end of the day, I’m always competitive, so it was that drive that elevated me to be strong.
After establishing yourself as a solid BBL player, you played the last four seasons in the Pro A. How well were you able to accept playing in the Pro A? You must have had BBL offers in that time. Were the Pro A teams always the best situation for you at that time?
My last season in Tübingen was a difficult one for us all, personally and as a team. I knew playing in the Pro A would allow me to regroup while still playing against good competition. So it wasn’t hard for me to accept. But at the end of the day, the situations in the Pro A were, to me, always better.
What memories do you have being teammates with Braydon Hobbs in Nurnberg when he was in his first season in Germany. Did you know then that he could land with a Euroleague caliber team like FC Bayern Munich?
Playing with Braydon made life on the court so much easier for all of his. He is still, to this day, one of the best passing PGs I’ve had the honor of playing with. If you’re open, he will find you. I knew he had the skills to play at a high level, but to make a jump from the Pro A to Euroleague is quite the feat. I’m really proud of him for building such an amazing career.
If someone had told you at the end of September 2017 that Vechta would win the Pro A title in May would that have been something you would have agreed with 100%?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t have agreed from a state of cockiness. There were some tough teams last season in the Pro A. But when I first met our group last August, I knew we could have a special season. Our chemistry on and off the court was unlike many teams I’ve ever played on. That combination, plus the individual quality and work ethic that we brought to the table, was a great formula for success.
Vechta had a great roster with a lot of talent, an experienced and great coach as well. When you look back at the season what was the biggest reason why everything clicked so well?
I almost answered this in the last question. I think the biggest reason was because we had such a solid group of experienced guys that knew their roles and were ready to do anything to help the team succeed. Guys were getting in extra time at the gym and the weight room. The work ethic was great. We were also a close knit group off the court and I think that chemistry translated into our game.
But seriously how challenging was going into every game knowing every team was gunning for you. Talk a little about how vital the team character was for the success?
When the league pegs you as one of the favorites to win it all, you play every night with a target on your back. I think it takes a certain level of character, humility and focus to play under these circumstances. We didn’t take teams for granted no matter where they fell on the Table. Each game to us was just another step to our ultimate goals. Our team handles that pressure well.
What will you always remember most about the 2017-2018 winning Vechta team that you will be able to boast to your grand children in 20 years?
There were so many things that happened that season that I could talk about. But, my favorite personal moment was my poster dunk in the second game of the playoffs. I think it might have been the most unexpected thing to everyone watching that game !
Let´s talk about your teammates. How vital was having Seth Hinrichs on the team. Would Vechta have won the title had he only been a one dimensional scorer? Have you ever had a more versatile player as a teammate?
Seth was the glue guy to the team. He did so many little things well and he’s really a force to be reckoned with. He just has a nose for the ball. He’s the type of hard nosed guy that anyone would love on their team. His versatility is also what makes him so special. He’s def one of the most versatile players that I’ve played with.
Your teammate Chris Carter said this about you in my interview with him recently. “Josh Young played a vital role in the success of our team. He was our vocal leader and gave us unmatched experience in late game situations. We all know he plays the game at a very high level, but people don’t see his leadership skills on a day to day basis. He was the guy that made sure we stayed focused and were ready to play every single game. One that led by example which is why he was well respected”. Would Vechta have won the Pro A without Chris Carter?
No. Chris was our floor general. There are so many things that are required of a great PG. Time management, reading the flow of the game, knowing foul situations, seeing who’s hot, being the first line of defense, and Chris handled all of this things at a level that allowed us to become champions. He hit 3 or 4 game winners for us this year. We aren’t having this conversation right now if Chris Carter didn’t play for Vechta last season.
You have played with many Germans over the years, but how important was Robin Christen for the success? He seemed like a perfect unsung hero player who did so much, but wasn´t recognized as much. How did you see his role on the team?
Rob is a silent assassin. We call him Big Body. He’s a strong, physical player who can get in the lane and finish, post up, but will also shoot you out of the gym from 3. He came up big for us many times last season. Maybe it went unnoticed by some, but we all knew how important he was and will be to our team.
How did you see the two young Germans Philipp Herkenhof and Luc Van Slooten develop? These guys have huge futures. What did you appreciate most about their games?
Both players are big talents. Philipp played a significant role for us and he was easily the most improved player throughout the season. His development was pretty cool to see. Pedro worked with him both in the weight room and on the court. He has become a much more mature player. And Luc is of the most athletic players in the country at his age. He has good size for a guard and finishes well at the basket. I wish I could dunk like Luc because he makes it look effortless.
Let´s talk about your game. Last season you played 38 games averaging 9.2ppg, 2.6rpg, 2.7apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 46.6%, FT: 69.6%. How content were you with your game?
I would say that I played decent with the time that I was playing. For being a shooter, my FT percentage has to be much better than that. I think I could have had better numbers in each category but I always tried to play within our system and the most important thing was always getting the win. Because of that, I can say it was pretty successful.
One thing that stands out is that you became a better three point shooter in the Pro A. How have you become a better player in the last four years having had that Pro A experience?
I’m older. As I’ve matured as a person, I’d like to say my game has as well. The game slows down for you the older you get. I study the game more, watch Euroleague matches and constantly breaking down my own game film. Those things have helped me to become a better player over the years.
Chris Carter said it best in that you were an important leader on the court last season. Plus you are a dangerous offensive player. What kind or role do you envision having this season? Could it become greater simply because you have BBL experience?
I’d Imagine that my role will be similar. Being a leader on and off the court. Bring good minutes, energy. Bringing all the guys together so that we can build some chemistry. I will do my best to help the team understand how important each game is for us.
How excited are you to be back in the BBL? Surprisingly your scoring averages decreased each season in the BBL with the Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Are you in your prime now at 30 and will be an impact player in the BBL?
It’s an exciting time for me. I feel good and am just grateful for another chance to play this game, especially in a great league like the BBL. Hopefully I’m aging like fine wine.
How does a summer work out day look like for Josh Young in 2018? What type of drills do you do to help develop your shot further?
I do a lot of shooting off the dribble and on the move. I also go through a dribbling circuit and try to work in groups where I can incorporate game like scenarios (ie drive and kick, pick and roll, transition shots).
How is Jacob Burtschi doing? He retired a few years too early in my opinion, but his body wasn´t holding up. When you look back at some of your battles in the BBL what do you remember most fondly?
Jake is doing well. He’s here in OKC working and still playing here and there. I remember him being a focal point of our scouting reports because he had what we call a “high motor” and he could shoot the ball extremely well. We used to have some great battles.
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
Jordan, Wilt, LeBron, Magic
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
I think it’s hard to compare the two because they are so different. Each of them is better statistically depending on which category we want to compare. I grew up a Jordan fan but I know LeBron is easily one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
Maybe In terms of exciting basketball, yes. They are young, talented with a lot of upside. They for sure will be contenders in the near future. Do I think they will be an unbelievable shooting team like GSW? No.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?
I think that Doncic easily could have gone #1 but I also know that teams draft according to their needs. PHX was in need of a big man, thus Ayton takes that spot.
How did you follow the 2018 NBA Draft? How cool is it having two Germans being drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers?
I follow every draft. I think that speaks to the development of Basketball in this country. A lot more Germans are playing on either an international stage or in the NBA. It’s cool to see the game expanding there.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game? Easily over 10.
He would average a double double if not a triple double.
What was the last movie that you saw? Let me guess Black Panther?
Close but no. The Incredibles 2.
Thanks Josh for the chat.