As part of our Rutgers men’s basketball season preview, we are doing profiles are on every player on this season’s roster. We started with the walk-on’s and today we examine guard Jacob Young. The former 4-star recruit played the previous two seasons for Texas before transferring to Rutgers this past spring. He will sit out this season due to transfer rules, but he can practice with the team and has two years of eligibility remaining. Young is an intriguing addition for the program. Let’s discuss his potential impact, both this season and beyond.
Young will give head coach Steve Pikiell a true gunner on the offensive end. He has the ability to score in bunches, as well as in multiple ways. Whether it’s shooting from any point beyond the arc or attacking the rim off the dribble, Young can provide instant offense for a team that has struggled so much in years past in scoring points. His best performance at Texas was his second to last game in a loss to Texas Tech in the Big XII Tournament last March. He scored 29 points on 11 of 17 shooting and 6 of 7 from three-point range. Here are highlights from that performance.
One area that Young is not lacking is his confidence, which our colleagues at Burnt Orange Nation mentioned in our Q&A with them shortly after he committed to Rutgers. Having a year away from playing games will be a crucial development period for Young and his confidence in his own abilities should only grow. The key is him playing within the offense and not trying to do too much, particularly if his shot isn’t falling. Finding other ways to help his team on the floor, whether it’s through penetration and finding an open teammate or creating pressure on the defensive end, Rutgers hopes Young can become a balanced and complete player.
He will need to be a more consistent scorer than he was at Texas. Last season in thirty games played, he scored in double figures six times, while not scoring at all six times. Young is a streaky shooter as well. Here are his shooting totals from three-point range the last six games of the season: 2 of 4; 2 of 7; 2 of 3; 1 of 7; 6 of 7; 1 of 6. In those six consecutive games played, Young shot 41.2% from behind the arc, which is good. However, he made just 4 of 20 for 20% in three games and 10 of 14 for 71.4% in the other three contests. Overall, Young shot 32.3% from behind the arc as a sophomore on 93 attempts. He’ll have a full year to work and become a more consistent shot maker, something Rutgers needs in a major way.
Another area that could turn Young into a great player is his commitment on the defensive end. He can be a solid on the ball defender and can create turnovers with his quickness. His decision making as to when to take chances in forcing steals could improve. The Rutgers coaching staff did an outstanding job helping Corey Sanders with that and helped develop him into a very good defensive player. There are a lot of similarities with Young and the staff could help him blossom with this part of his game.
Even though Young can’t suit up on gameday this season, he will help this team on the practice court. His quickness and athleticism makes him a difficult player to guard. He also brings energy and can score in multiple ways, so he will challenge whoever guards him in practice and help to make them better. As for beyond this season, Young could become a key player on next year’s club. His scoring ability will give Rutgers a weapon they desperately need, while a year to focus on his development can only benefit his overall upside and help him reach his full potential as a basketball player. He is an exciting player to have in the program and could play a major role for this team in the 2019-2020 season. It also seems from recent tweets that Young is happy with the decision he made. It appears he has a good attitude about his current role as a practice player and that should help Young be ready to make an impact next season.
Haven’t felt this good to play basketball since 2016 !!! #GodsPlan everything happens for a reason !!— Jacob Young (@YEAHLILJ) October 23, 2018
RU brought me back ‼️— Jacob Young (@YEAHLILJ) October 23, 2018