By Danny Cox

Name: Michael Young #2
University: Pittsburgh
Year: Sophomore
Height: 6’9″
Weight: 235 lbs.
Hometown: Duquesne, PA
Position: Forward

There are three players on the Pittsburgh Panthers’ squad that are averaging over 30 minutes per game this season. Three others are averaging over 20 minutes per game. The Panthers are not having the best season, but they are simply on the bubble of the NCAA Tournament and hoping that Michael Young and others can power them into a berth.

Young is a sophomore from 10 minutes away in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, and he’s come a long way from his high school days at Hudson Catholic and St. Benedict’s in New Jersey. He then spent his freshman season playing at Shady Side Academy. While there, his mother, Lanette Braxton, knew that her son was growing up.

He began to become a “more pleasant person,” and he was hopeful that he could end up playing for the Pittsburgh Panthers. Pitt’s assistant coach Brandin Knight told Young that it wasn’t going to be handed to him.

“I can’t just give you a scholarship to Pitt,” Knight said. “You have to earn one.”

Not only did he earn it, but he earned himself a premiere spot in the starting line-up of the Panthers’ team. He’s the first hometown recruit for Pittsburgh since DeJuan Blair, who arrived at the university in 2007. In his first season as a Panther, Young is already beginning to make just as big of an impact.

Michael Young has been a monster inside for Pittsburgh this season and he has been dominant on defense, but his offensive game suffered at times. Back in mid-February, Young even missed all three of his shots against Virginia and went scoreless for the first time in his career.

At that point, coach Jamie Dixon didn’t give up on his strong power forward. He made Young the focus of the offense and since then, he’s averaged 18 points while shooting over 64 percent from the field in two games.

This season, Young is averaging 13.1 points per game with over 31 minutes per game being played. He leads the team with 7.3 rebounds per game and also has 1.1 assists per game. He is a key player for the Panthers and his strength, versatility, and presence on offense and defense will be needed if Pittsburgh wants make a deep run in this year’s ACC Tournament.

Pittsburgh has a great squad and one that can truly make a big run to end the regular season and gear toward the NCAA Tournament. Michael Young has come a long way from his high school days in New Jersey and he has done a lot to advance his game and make it better.

He’ll be getting noticed by NBA scouts, but if Pittsburgh can win more games and make an impressive tournament showing, then he’s going to get even more attention. The hometown player is making the most of his opportunity and he’s only getting better.

Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. Danny is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.