EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — When James Young transferred from Troy to Rochester last August, one wondered just what type of impact one of the state’s top players would have on a program that hadn’t won a district title since 1988.
Young handled the pressure as well as could be expected and responded to the challenge with an outstanding season. The only player from Michigan named to the McDonald’s All America team, Young is the Associated Press Class A Player of the Year.
Young was named to AP’s Class A All-State first team last season, too.
This season, Young, a 6-foot-6 forward who signed with Kentucky, is averaging 27.2 points, 16 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 5.1 steals and two blocks per game.
Not only did Young lead Rochester to its first district title in 25 years, Rochester defeated Bloomfield Hills Lahser 65-41 on March 13 to win its first regional title since 1950.
Young had 27 points against Lahser in that game despite contracting pink eye just hours before. Young also missed three games at the end of the season after suffering an injury to his right calf.
Young also scored 33 against Lahser earlier in the season.
“James is a special player,” Lahser coach Duane Graves said. “We held him to 13 points last season when he was at Troy. He’s the real deal. You can’t stop him. He’s a great kid. I made it a point to talk to him after each game we played. His weakness is he’s too nice.”
Ten other players were named to the Class A All-State first team, including two from Romulus, Wes Clark and E.C. Matthews. The others are: Kahlil Felder of Detroit Pershing, Jackson Lamb of Temperance Bedford, Denzel Watts of Flint Carman-Ainsworth, Josh Groenhof of Zeeland East, Bishop Robinson of Kalamazoo Loy Norrix and Jalen Adams of Saginaw Arthur Hill. The only two underclassmen selected are junior Drake Harris of Grand Rapids Christian and sophomore Eric Davis of Arthur Hill.
Young is an outstanding athlete who can score inside and out. He’ll likely play the wing in college, but has played the point and the post this season as well.
“I don’t know how any player can impact a game as much as James can,” Rochester coach John Pleasant said. “He can score in every way. He hits the 3s, has a great pull-up, finishes at the rim and can post.”
Like Young, Clark, Felder, Lamb, Robinson and Watts were named to the first team last season.
Clark led Romulus back to the quarterfinals, and Felder was the leader of a Pershing team that won the Detroit Public School League title and finished the regular season ranked No. 1.
Lamb averaged 26.4 points and signed with Michigan for baseball. Robinson led Loy Norrix to its first district title in 10 years by averaging 23.3 points and 11.9 rebounds. Watts averaged 17.7 points and six assists, and he signed with Alabama-Birmingham.
Eric Krause of Midland and Chris Belcher of Grand Blanc are the Co-Coaches of the Year. Both teams won district titles this season.
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