NBA Draft Blog Interview with Andre Young

Those who have been following the interviews here the last few weeks may have noticed a running theme through many of them – at the end of the day, when it comes to players ability to play the game, don’t force things like players’ heights, or wingspan, or what their college stats were.  Almost 100% of the time, they not only give you very little to determine a player’s pro ability, they often cause people to make conclusions that they shouldn’t.  No player in this year’s draft class exemplifies this more than Clemson’s Andre Young.  Mention Young to many and the first thing they will mention is that he is 5’9.  You won’t hear about his ability to hit his jumper from long range, or how he can get into the lane and finish or find open teammates, or that he is a menace on the defensive end, but that’s what you need to know about him.  This past season, Young was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team as well as being named Honorable Mention All-ACC.  Look at the names that surround him in either of those groups, and how people talk about their NBA potential, and you will start to realize why you can’t discount what Young can do.  I had the chance to talk to Young recently, as he prepares for team workouts, about his game, his doubters and much more:

Andre on how his game developed at Clemson:

“I think I became a little more aggressive as the years went on.  As a freshman, I was just looking to fit in and not step on any toes.  As my role increased, I became more assertive, and because of my increased role, my game needed to evolve.  I needed to go from a point guard worrying about running the team and getting the ball to guys, to a scorer as well.”


Andre on his strengths as a player: 

“I think my strengths are shooting the ball, being able to shoot the 3 well.  I am a smart player, a valuable asset as a point guard, and I don’t make many mistakes with the ball.  Defensively, I do a good job denying the passing lanes and getting steals.”


Andre on what parts of his game he still wants to improve:

“I always want to keep improving my ballhandling skills, continue getting better on defense and looking for more steals.  I like to be a student of the game and you can’t ever learn too much.  I spend a lot of time watching film of the elite guards, like Steve Nash and Chris Paul, looking to see what I can take from them.  I also look to see what guys who have my height have done to do well in the league, guys like Earl Boykins.  The game is always changing, so you need to be able to adapt.”


Andre on questions surrounding his height:

“At every level there will be doubters, and people who underrate me because of my height.  I don’t care what those people think.  I have proven what I can do in the ACC, one of the top college conferences.  I have heart, competitiveness, smarts, and I love to play the game.  All I can do is take what they say and use it as ammunition.”

Andre on the challenges of the ACC:

“Playing the ACC made me really develop toughness to my game and made me a smarter player.  The games are very physical, but I learned to enjoy the contact – the bumping and pushing was just part of the game.  Every night you had to bring your top game because, from top to bottom, you were always going to be challenged.”


Andre on how he envisions his immediate role at the next level:

“I can bring competitiveness and hard work every day, in games and in practices.  Whatever is required, I will do it.  I can run the team, knock down open shots, get to the basket and defend.  I know I am fully capable of bringing that to any team.”

Andre on what he wants teams and fans to know about him

“I will bring passion to whatever team I play for.  I am willing to learn what I need and the fact that I am a competitor and hard worker won’t ever be doubted.  Also, I consider myself to be a people-person; can gel with any team and any group of teammates.  They just need to know that I will work my butt off for the team.”

I want to thank Andre for his time and I wish him the best of luck as he looks to fulfill his dream of getting to the NBA.  I also want to thank his agents, Ben and Adam Pensack of Pensack Sports Management Group, for setting up this interview.  Having the chance to see Andre play at Clemson was always fun and I think anyone who doubts his ability to play will be in for a major surprise.


Check back in the coming weeks for more great interviews and scouting reports as we head towards the 2012 NBA Draft.  Follow me on Twitter – @NBADraftBlog – for updates, leave your comments below, or feel free to email me at [email protected]