It only seemed like yesterday when Josh Young was making his mark in the German BBL in only his second professional season playing for the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and having future Euroleague players Reggie Redding and Louis Campbell as teammates. But time really flies and the Oklahoma native is currently in his 10th professional season and 4th with Rasta Vechta that has become his second home after Tuebingen having had that distinction of having played 3 years there early in his professional career. The 32 year old 185cm combo guard has seen a lot in his career where he will be able to have enough material for many good night stories to his grand children one day. He played at Drake(NCAA), but didn´t play in the most competitive conference with the MVC and despite averaging a solid 15,0ppg in his last three years found himself paying his dues as a rookie in the third division Germany Pro B with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen. He dominated the Pro B that season averaging 26.7ppg, 6.4rpg, 3.0apg, 2.3spg, FGP: 45.2%, 3PT: 45.3%, FT: 79.0% and picked up Eurobasket.com All-German 2.Bundesliga Pro B 1st Team -11 and Eurobasket.com German 2.Bundesliga Pro B All-Imports Team -11 awards. After his rookie season, he played 3 seasons in the BBL in Tuebingen. He has seen many crazy things in his basketball career like the over night disappearance of Tuebingen teammate Kenny Wiliams. “I Heard that he went back to Miami but I never heard from him ever again”, stressed Josh Young. After 3 solid BBL years, he then found himself paying dues again in the Pro A where he had two very good seasons with Nurnberg, but his poorest season with Rasta Vechta playing only 6 games and averaging 4,7ppg. After a strong season in Nurnberg, he returned back to Vechta in 2017-2018 and helped the team move up to the BBL again. In the 2018-2019, he witnessed the amazing and shocking Cinderella season that saw the club reach the playoffs and find their way into the hearts of many fans in Germany. He had his best BBL season averaging 12.2ppg, 2.3rpg, 2.9apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 53.1%, 3PT: 36.3%, FT: 81.7%. But this season the club continued to be consistent and Young once again was able to top his previous best BBL season averaging 13.7ppg, 2.3rpg, 3.3apg, FGP: 51.9%, 3PT: 48.4%, FT: 69.2%.. Just when he thought that basketball couldn´t get any more crazy, COVID-19 hit the world and halted the team and his great season. “Covid 19 is by far the craziest thing I’ve been a part of in all my years of playing. I could have never imagined it would develop into such a huge crisis the way it has”, stressed Josh Young. Now after a few months of no basketball, he will be back in June to attempt to win his team a title in Munich.
Even if Rasta Vechta played their last game on March 8, Josh Young has been out of action even longer having played his last game on February 12 when he suffered a tough 88-87 loss at Weissenfels against MBC, but still supported 17 points. He suffered an injury to his index finger which kept him out until the COVID-19 hit the world. Even if the COVID-19 crisis has hurt the world, for his personal injury, it helped him be able to get fit again. He never went home to Oklahoma, but remained in Vechta to get healthy again and despite the tough times continued to stay positive. When you live in the severe countryside in Oklahoma where in some places you may not see any civilization for miles and miles, the American quickly noticed that life in Vechta which is already small for German standards brought some of that Oklahoma feeling when the Coronavirus came. “Everything changed drastically here. At first, the city looked like a ghost town. Only a few essential businesses stayed open, people weren’t outside at all, and the people you did see were all covered in masks and gloves. There really was minimal human contact being made. I always stayed conscience of the health departments rules and suggestions to the public. Hand shakes, hugs, etc were completely out of the picture “, stressed Josh Young. In the last months, he had many discussions with players, friends and family and had most contact to former Tuebingen Tiger Reggie Redding and didn´t take the initial news in March as tough as some other players in German leagues about the cancelation of the season, but had the bigger picture in mind. “ I wasn’t disappointed about the possibility of ending the season. To me, the safety and health of players and coaches has to be the main priority. Had the season been canceled, I would have known that it was for the right reasons”, added Josh Young. His biggest focus now is playing a good tournament with Rasta Vechta and his club being successful, but also knows when this season is over, he will experience a totally new type of off season with the players market. Here once again he isn´t so concerned about if he will suffer a big pay cut, but once again has the world picture in his mind and understands money is only a small part of it all for him “I’m not worried about it. I understand that things might be different for the basketball world but there are people out there who are dealing with much more serious issues. I’m grateful that mine only include the game I love”, warned Josh Young. He has proved that his understanding of the whole world picture concerning COVID-19 outweighs his own concerns about his basketball future
Before COVID-19 halted the season, Rasta Vechta had had an up and down season, but were still having a good season and were a playoff team. Rasta Vechta began slow losing it´s first 3 games and then from mid October to the end of January had it´s best time winning 10 of 13 games and then finished at 2-3 before the season was stopped. “We found our identity. We didn’t understand fully how we needed to play or what our specific brand of basketball was in the beginning of the season. Once everyone bought in and had a vision of how hard we have to compete in order to have chances to win, things turned around for us”, warned Josh Young. It was no secret that duplicating the Cinderella season of before would be as difficult a task as trying to find a solution for the continued racism in the United States as all eyes are on Minneapolis in these hard times, but when you have a head coach like Pedro Calles, he will find ways to be successful even if you lost two key players TJ Bray and Austin Hollins to the Euroleague. “ Losing those two would be a major blow for any club like it was for us. Coach Calles and his staff have an eye for the type of talent that can be very successful in our system, ie Vasturia and Simpson. His coaching philosophy doesn’t change. He preaches hard work day in and out and results hopefully follow our work ethic, which has proven true”, stressed Josh Young. It also helped Rasts Vechta´s cause for being successful that new players like Ishmail Wainright who came from the Pro A and Steve Vasturia who had his break out season panned out for Pedro Calles on and off the court. “Ish has done a tremendous job this season. He stepped into a big role coming from the pro A and he was able to meet those expectations and more. I’m really proud of his development here with us. He was definitely a glue guy and constant at that 4 position. Steve was a major part of our team this year. He’s one of those ultimate piece guys. He does just about everything well. Without him, we wouldn’t have been as successful as we were thus far. I know he’ll be great at the next level”, added Josh Young.
On April 27th the easyCredit BBL had a video conference with all 17 teams and decided on completing the season despite 7 teams declining to be a part of the season ending 3 week tournament in Munich. With most leagues shut down in Europe, there have been a few other leagues like the ACB in Spain and Winners League in Israel that will finish the season with the easyCredit BBL, but there have been positives and negative aspects. Finishing the season will help clubs financially hopefully keeping sponsors on board while negatives is a risk of infection and injury. Despite Josh Young´s severe concern for the world during the COVID-19 time, he is very confident that the easyCredit BBL didn´t go into this matter unprepared, but will have everything under control in order to finish the season with a lesser risk. “To be honest, I don’t have a major health concern about the virus. I think our accommodations while we are there in Munich are pretty secure”, warned Josh Young. The last weeks have been tough for the 10 teams that will compete as teams couldn´t practice with all players as some returned from the States and were thrown into a2 week quarantine. The American knows that this will be nothing like a normal pre season on account of the less time available. “Every team will really need to maximize the training time before the season. In the preseason, we normally have about 6 weeks to prepare after being off sometimes less than 2 months. Here, we have a third of that time after being off more than two months. It will be interesting”, warned Josh Young. Being able to play again has some other positives and negatives for the players, but all will be in the same boat and have to get adjusted rapidly if their respective teams want to be successful. “The most difficult thing will be having to be away from families for such an extended period of time, especially for the guys who have families and children. Playing without fans not an ideal situation for me. The fans at our games are what give the arenas life and energy. Would be tough to play on a consistent basis without them. Overall, I’m just looking forward to competing again. The format for me doesn’t make a difference”, expressed Josh Young. Rasta Vechta will play in Group B which will feature teams Alba Berlin, MHP Riesen, Brose Bamberg and the Fraport Skyliners. Group A isn´t a cake walk either with teams FC Bayern Munich, Crailsheim, EWE Baskets, ratiopharm Ulm and BG Goettingen, but Vechta´s group might actually be a tad more difficult. But at the end of the day, all teams begin at 0-0 and all will experience a situation that they have never been in. Many teams had to acquire new players on the fly and the mental part will also be key. “Well it’s true that some teams might not have their original players, but I also know the clubs who agreed to be in this tournament were probably aware of that fact. We as teams can´t make any excuses if we lose and critics shouldn’t say anything if we win. Given the circumstances, I think this is a good chance for whichever team to come together the quickest and peak their performance to run away with the title”, warned Josh Young.
Josh Young will be a key factor for Rasta Vechta at both ends of the court, but especially on offense he is possibly having his best season as a professional. He mostly has had solid seasons where ever he has played, but this season it seems like he really took it to heart to take on even more responsibility as many new guys arrived who hadn´t played in the BBL before and he had to pick up the voids of TJ Bray and Austin Hollins. He also is very thankful for the immense trust from head coach Pedro Calles and getting another chance to play at the BBL level so late in his career. “Understanding the game at a higher level has helped me improve tremendously. I’ve learned so much under Coach Calles and the coaching staff in the past two years. It also helps to play in a familiar system for multiple years. I understand how we as a team, and I personally, can be successful throughout the game”, warned Josh Young. His big weapon has always been his three pointer, but he has never shot it as dangerously and as consistently as this season. At Drake(NCAA), he eclipsed the 40% mark once and as a professional 3 times before this season with 3 different teams with the Bayer Giants Leverkusen, Nurnberg and in the 2017-2018 Pro A season with Rasta Vechta where he shot an astronomical 46%. He goes into the Munich tournament shooting a massive 48%. He hasn´t changed anything up on his mechanics, but stuck to the basics and just executed superbly. “I think shot selection, confidence and repetition have been the biggest keys to my shooting percentage. I know where my shots come from and I’m able to get to my spots”, stressed Josh Young. Young who last watched the movie BlackkKlansman has seen so much sadness in the world concerning COVID-19 as well as the senseless murder of George Floyd where currently it seems like a mini World War 3 occuring in Minneapolis, but at the same time he knows that he has a task at hand which is helping his team Rasta Vechta achieve success in Munich and possibly celebrate a title. He will be quarantined in Munich with more than a 100 other players in the same hotel and still have a lot of time to reflect on life and has learned something new during CORONA-19. “ The life we have become accustomed to is delicate and can change from one day to the next. You have to cherish every single moment that’s given to you”, warned Josh Young. Young has always been a type of role model and already has good values and a top character, but even in these tough times the Corona virus will help him continue to mature as a well rounded human being.-