Nov. 20, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Together or separately those two words have been very good for Thaddeus Young.
Together they added up to a memorable year of college and a tremendous 20-win 2006-07 season at Georgia Tech.
Separately they have continued to serve him well in seven NBA seasons, as the 25-year-old native of New Orleans, La., a first-round pick of the 76ers (No. 12 overall) in the 2007 Draft, has become an important veteran presence on the up-and-coming Philadelphia 76ers.
As a 17-year-old, the hot-shooting Young averaged a team-high-tying 14.4 ppg on .478 shooting, and was especially lethal on three-pointers, as he drained 41.9 percent of his attempts (39-of-93), tied for 16th all-time in school history (with Tony Akins, 2000-01) on his way to Honorable Mention ACC All-Freshman honors. The tandem of Young and fellow-freshman guard Javaris Crittenton, combined for 1,005 points, and they still rank among the top-20 tandems in school history. Young and Crittenton had been the last freshmen duo to lead the Yellow Jackets in scoring until Marcus Georges-Hunt and Robert Carter, Jr. did it last season.
Even after Young left Georgia Tech for the NBA, he didn’t stop thriving in Atlanta. The ATL has remained one of his most productive cities in which to play. In 11 career games played at Philips Arena, Young is averaging 15.7 points per game, while shooting a 52.8 percent (53.8 from three), while grabbing 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 off the offensive glass.
Young has continued to follow the Yellow Jackets and frequently comes back to Atlanta during the summer to work out at the Zelnak Center.
Sting Daily recently caught up with Young after yet another strong game in Atlanta against the Hawks at Philips Arena on Nov. 15 — 17 points, on 7-for-15 shooting, and seven rebounds, five offensive boards (his Sixers didn’t fare as well, falling 113-103) — and talked about workin’ it at Philips Arena, working out at Zelnak and working with Georgia Tech Coach Brian Gregory on bringing future talent to Georgia Tech.
STING DAILY: You had another superb game in Atlanta. Why do you do play so well here?
Thaddeus Young: (laughs) It’s one of those things where you just have a feel for the gym. I’ve played in Philips Arena plenty of times, just coming up here and hoopin’ with the fellas when I was in college. You just have a feel for it.
SD: Is it fun for you to come back to Atlanta?
TY: It always is. Atlanta’s like my second home. There are a lot of people here that I know, that I consider family. My dad and his best friend stay here. He’s always back and forth to the city even when I’m not here. So it’s definitely a good thing to be able to come back and play in front of all the Georgia Tech fans and family.
SD: Do you stay in touch with your former teammates?
TY: All the time. None of them really live here in the off-season but we all kind of come through, come play in the gym a little bit. We’re always in touch — Lewis Clinch, Javaris [Crittenton], Anthony Morrow, Jeremis Smith, Ra’Sean Dickey, we stay in contact.
SD: Have you been inside McCamish Pavilion and Zelnak Center? What are your thoughts on the new facilities?
TY: Yes, I have. We actually practiced over there last year. It was amazing how the facility has changed since I’ve been there. Just to see the new practice facility and see my name on the wall and my pictures all around the facility, I think it’s just great. They showed a lot of love as far as putting guys on the wall that have made it and who came through the program.
SD: Does it make you wish this had been here while you were here?
TY: (laughs) Yes, but at the end of the day, as time goes on, facilities change and plans change and you have to renovate and make new decisions on different things. I’m very impressed with it. I love the new facility and I plan on using it more often in the summers.
SD: How close have you stayed with the program?
TY: I come back. Coach Gregory and I are starting to build a relationship. I have an AAU program and he’s starting to recruit some of my kids. It’s in Memphis. We’re talking more and more and he’s trying to get me to come back and kind of linger around the facility and play with some of the guys a little bit. We’ve been working on some things.
SD: Talk a little more about your AAU program.
TY: It’s called Young for Youth. Through my Young for Youth Foundation, it’s a team that’s a non-affiliated program but we have a lot of top kids. We finish top-five in the country in three or four age groups every year. It’s three, four years in the making. We have a lot of top kids that they’re recruiting. Hopefully we can get somebody to come to Georgia Tech and potentially be the next Thaddeus Young (laughs).
For more on Young for Youth visit http://youngforyouth.org/.
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