By Dave Thomas
Name: Joseph Young
Height: 6′ 2″
Weight: 180 lbs.
Hometown: Houston, TX
If the Oregon Ducks have plans for a long run as March Madness kicks off this week, Joseph Young will likely need to have a say in that.
The senior guard will help lead the Ducks, the runner-up in the Pac-12 Tourney (lost to Arizona in championship game 80-52), into battle beginning March 20 when they face Oklahoma State in an 8-9 seed battle in the West.
Known for its football prowess in recent years, Oregon (25-9) isn’t too shabby on the basketball hardwood either, much of which can be attributed to the play of Young.
The Pac-12 Player of the Year, one of only two returning key players from the 2013-14 squad, leads the Ducks this season with 19.8 points per game and 3.7 assists, respectively. Despite the Ducks getting manhandled last weekend in the conference title game versus perennial power Arizona, Young managed 19 points in the loss.
His ability for the dramatic, however, came in a 67-64 semifinal win over Utah, as he nailed a three-pointer from some 30 feet as time expired.
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While there are a number of positive things you can point to when noting Young’s senior season in Eugene, one thing that stands out immediately is his scoring consistency. In only two of 34 games this season, has Young failed to reach double points in scoring. In four of the team’s contests this season, Young exploded for 30 or more points. His top point performances came three times (32 points) in wins over Coppin State and Washington and a loss to Washington State.
Along with his ability to put the ball in the hoop, Young has also been a facilitator with the ball. The Houston, Texas product twice tallied eight assists in games versus Coppin State and Washington State, respectively.
So, what could March Madness hold in store for Young and Co. as they look for a little redemption after the 28-point loss to Arizona?
According to an article from GoDucks.com, head coach Dana Altman and the Ducks will need to put the blowout loss to Arizona behind them quickly if they’re to have any chance of getting past a dangerous OSU squad in Omaha. Competing at a high level for 40 minutes will be first and foremost on their minds.
As Altman noted in the piece, “We played the three biggest teams in the league (Pac-12), which has been our Achilles heel,” Altman said. “We battled Colorado, we battled Utah; we didn’t battle Arizona as well as I had hoped. There are a lot of factors in that but the bottom line is, we didn’t compete as well as I thought our guys can compete.”
Young, who started his collegiate career at his hometown University of Houston, and was a Texas Gatorade Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year in high school, will be a big factor in whether or not Oregon can get out of the first round and keep dancing for a couple of weeks.MORE NEWS: Dixie Fire Update: Firefighters Brace For 40 MPH Red Flag Winds; Flames Advance Toward Lake Almanor
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.