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BASKETBALL RECRUITING: Young picks Kentucky, ends frenzied recruitment

   | Scott Burnstein

BASKETBALL RECRUITING: Young picks Kentucky, ends frenzied recruitment

MADISON HEIGHTS – The Chosen One has chosen.

Rochester boys basketball superstar James Young, nicknamed by some ‘The Chosen One’ and one of the best prep hoopsters in the land, verbally committed to Kentucky early Thursday night during a live, nationally-televised broadcast on ESPNU.

“Kentucky has everything I’m looking for in a college,” said the 6-foot-6 ½ swingman after holding up a Wildcats t-shirt to the camera. “I loved my visit. I love everything about it.”

Young, who just recently transferred to Rochester after playing at Troy the last three years, is ranked by some nationwide recruiting services as the No. 1 player in the whole country.

Over the past two seasons, the multi-dimensional Young has averaged 25 points, 10 rebounds a six assists per contest, leading Troy to consecutive Oakland Activities Association White Division championships.

He is the first prepster from the state of Michigan to land in Lexington since Alex Legion (Birmingham Detroit Country Day-Oak Hill Academy) five years ago.

Head coach John Calipari and the Wildcats are the defending NCAA National Champions.

Last week, Kentucky also got commitments from the highly-touted Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew), a pair of fellow heavily-recruited perimeter prospects hailing from Texas.

“I’m real excited to play with those guys,” said Young of his future college teammates. “I think we’ll have a very strong crop of recruits coming in next year. We’re all going there to win a National Championship.”

Even with the elite scholarship in hand, Young remains hungry to keep working on his game.

“I definitely still have things to improve on and I want to really make an effort to make another leap in my game before I get on campus next fall in Lexington,” he said.

John Pleasant, Young’s new head coach at Rochester, is thrilled for his star player.

“I couldn’t be happier for James and his whole family,” Pleasant said. “He’s a great kid, just as humble as can be. His talent is pretty extraordinary.”

The recruitment of Young has been as intense as the courting of any local player since the likes of Paul Davis (Rochester-Michigan State), Shane Battier (Birmingham Detroit Country Day-Duke) and Chris Webber (Birmingham Detroit Country Day-University of Michigan) of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Through the course of him being recruited, he fielded offers from over a dozen high-level Division I college programs. His final group of schools he was deciding between included Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Syracuse.