Chris Young is a man on a mission.
The Michigan senior forward proved it in his latest trip to the Pete Newell Big Man Camp in Honolulu, Hawaii this August. Young not only banged bodies with some top post players in the camp, but faced the challenge of climbing a 3,000 foot mountain with some fellow big men one afternoon.
And they only had 35 minutes to complete the feat, as the trail closed at 6 p.m.
“We thought “Hey, we”re athletes,”” Young said. ” “We can do this.””
But they soon realized that running up a mountain after going through three hours of drills at camp that afternoon wasn”t that easy.
“When we started to come down, the sun had set,” Young said.
After dealing a fiasco trying to catch their taxi, a 35-minute trip had turned into an eight hour adventure.
But the exhausted Young didn”t mind at all. He wanted to take advantage of every opportunity he had on the trip, including climbing mountains, parasailing and visiting Pearl Harbor.
“I don”t want to have any regrets,” Young said. “I”m all about going and doing it.”
Young also took advantage of all the drills at the camp and the tutelage he got from coaches Pete Newell and new Pistons coach Rick Carlisle.
“The drills were quite new to the majority of the players,” Camp coordinator and former Chaminade coach Merv Lopes said from his office in Hawaii. “Such as learning to play out on the wing, using a specific pivot foot while facing the basket and putting the ball on the floor and attacking the defense.”
Lopes said Young grabbed the staff”s attention by how quickly he grasped the new techniques, and pointed out how “tremendously” Young”s footwork improved over the duration of the camp.
And Lopes wasn”t Young”s only fan at the camp. Carlisle spent some time working with Young at different stations and was impressed as well.
“I like his enthusiasm and his work ethic,” Carlisle said. “I think he”s got some real skill and the ability to step out and shoot. He”s got good size and his athletic ability is exceptional I think he”ll be able to score inside the paint and from the outside as well.”
Young said that he feels comfortable draining an outside shot from up to 17 feet out and creating his own shot off the dribble.
That”s what Michigan coach Tommy Amaker is counting on, as the Wolverines are thin in the low post especially after losing center Josh Asselin to graduation.
“We”re expecting a lot from Chris,” Amaker said. “We expect leadership, experience and we”re going to rely on him greatly in the front line. We”re going to need a high level of production out of Chris Young.”
Young said that a post presence is one thing that Michigan has been missing in previous seasons someone who commands double teams down low and open up teammates for outside shots. And he wants to be that that type of player.
“I expect to be facing down, scoring every time,” Young said.
But after watching some NBA players perform at Pete Newell”s camp, Young still knows he still has a lot to improve on.
“Watching Antoine Jamison and Shawn Bradley and seeing how talented they are I know I have a long way to go if I want to play at next level.”
Carlisle, who has spent 16 years in the NBA as either a player or assistant coach, agrees but believes Young has the tools.
“He needs to work on his strength and endurance and keep improving his skills,” Carlisle said. “If you want play in the NBA at 6″10, you”ve got to be able to score from the inside and outside, and shoot free throws well.
“And I think he”s shown signs of having those.”
Moore a no-show: The largest player on Michigan”s team, sophomore Josh Moore, was expected to participate in the Pete Newell Big Man”s Camp as well, but didn”t make the trip.
“He was due to go, thinking bout going, but then there was a change of plans and he was unable to go,” Amaker said.
Lopes said that it would be helpful for a player of Moore”s stature (7″2, 305 pounds) to work on his footwork in drills similar to those used at the camp. This was especially evident last season, when Moore had the pesky habit of getting in foul trouble.
“I”m anxious to see how (Moore”s) progressing,” Amaker said. “He”s had somewhat of a difficult year last year. But I”m anxious to see with a year under his belt and more confidence and more experience can translate into more production.
“It”s going to be important for us to stay healthy and for (Young) and Big Josh to stay out of foul trouble.”