Scouting services ranked Mike Young a four-star player before the basketball season. He apparently is living up to the reputation -- and then some.
That should be good news to Pitt fans because Young, a 6-foot-8 forward at St. Benedict's in Newark, N.J., signed with Pitt in November.
"He's playing great. He's playing fantastic," St. Benedict assistant coach Bob Farrell said. "His game has gotten a lot better this year, and I think it's because of his perimeter skills. He worked real hard in the offseason developing his outside shot.
"Now, the bigs have trouble covering him on the perimeter. He has become a solid, solid all-around player. Jamie Dixon is getting a heck of a player."
Young is a McKeesport native who played at Shady Side Academy as a freshman before deciding to attend St. Benedict's as a sophomore. He then played at Hudson Catholic in New Jersey as a junior before returning to St. Benedict's. Both Rivals.com and scout.com rate him a four-star player. Rivals ranks him the No. 97 player in the country and scout No. 95.
Young had a nice performance Sunday when he had 16 points and seven rebounds in a 63-51 victory against Montrose Christian (Md.) at the Hoophall Classic in Springfield, Mass.
Young has been playing the small forward and power forward positions for St. Benedict's, a perennial power in New Jersey. Among Young's teammates are senior guard Tyler Ennis, a Syracuse recruit, and sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe, who already has scholarship offers from Pitt, Syracuse, Baylor and Florida, among others.
For the season, Young is averaging 17 points and eight rebounds a game.
"He has had multiple games with one or two 3-pointers," Farrell said. "His mid-range jumper is very good also. ... I would be very surprised if he did not see a lot of court time next year at Pitt."
Watkins doesn't return
Duquesne recruit Isaiah Watkins also played for St. Benedict, but he decided not to return to the school after the first semester. Watkins is a 6-8 forward from Toronto who was a nice recruiting catch for new Duquesne coach Jim Ferry.
"He actually graduated in December and he chose not to finish out the year," Farrell said. "From what his parents said, he wants to work more on his game himself. He was going to work out in Detroit with somebody and just focus on basketball, since he already finished high school.
"He was doing OK for us. He wasn't the impact player Mike is, but Isaiah has a good work ethic, which is important."