Young Again

Nov. 11, 1999

LARAMIE, Wyo. -

By Scott Nulph, Wyoming Tribune-Eagle

He would run and rehabilitate before every practice.Then he would sit and watch the rest of the team go through drills.He would be on the end of the bench for all 14 home games, but could donothing to help.

If you want to know about frustration, just sit down for a few minutes withWyoming junior guard Andy Young. He'll talk your ear off.

Young, who started 40 of the first 55 games during his freshman andsophomore seasons at Wyoming, became a spectator last season during his whatwas supposed to be his junior year, forced to sit out the entire season witha hip injury.

He was forced to watch a team that blossomed under first-year head coachSteve McClain. He watched as the Cowboys compiled a 17-9 regular seasonrecord. He then watched as the Pokes beat Southern California in the firstround of the National Invitation Tournament, the program's first postseasonwin since 1991.

This year Young hopes to shed the spectator label on what could be one ofWyoming's best teams since back-to-back NCAA appearances in 1988 and 1987.

?I just got sick of sitting out,? said Young before a recent practice. ?Atfirst it was bad, but after a while you get used to it.

?I just had to except it and work on getting back for this year. Hopefully Ican stay healthy and contribute any way I can.?

Although Young has completely rehabilitated from the hip injury, hiscomeback did hit a snag this week when he suffered a hamstring pull duringpractice. The junior might miss this Saturday's exhibition game against theEuro All-Stars (8:30 p.m. tipoff at the Arena-Auditorium). But after missingall of last year, sitting out one exhibition game probably won't seem likemuch.

The problem for Young, when he does return, is that things won't be close tothe same as they were when he left.

Young averaged five points, three rebounds and three assists a game whilestarting all 28 games during the '97-98 season.

Now he's probably third on the point-guard depth chart, behind sophomoreChris McMillian (who started all 28 games last year) and junior BrettMcFall.

?That doesn't bother me,? Young said. ?I know I can contribute some to thisteam. I just want to play. I just want to make this team as good as it canbe.?

The biggest obstacle for Young will be adjusting to McClain's up-tempostyle. The 6-foot guard flourished two years ago in Larry Shyatt?s defensefirst system. But does he have what it takes to be productive in acompletely opposite program?

?We'll have to see,? McClain said. ?I only got to coach Andy for about twoweeks last year. We'll all have to find out what he can do.?Young doesn't see any problems fitting in.

?I'll do whatever is asked,? he said. ?Whether it's playing the point, or atthe off-guard, or just coming in and playing some defense, I just want tocontribute.?

And hopefully with a healthy hip to go with his healthy attitude.

?There were times that I worried about (the injury) reassuring,? Young said.?But right now I feel good. The first couple of weeks are usually thehardest and I've made it through pretty well.?