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Jacob Young looks to continue success in NCAA Tournament against his father’s alma mater

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Young and Rutgers prepare for a matchup against his hometown Houston Cougars.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Rutgers at Clemson Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

INDIANAPOLIS — Sometimes, material writes itself.

Rutgers is set for a second-round matchup against Houston on Sunday night. Young’s father, Michael, attended Houston from 1980-84 where he was a member of Phi Slama Jama and a teammate of Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon.

“It means a lot,” Young, a Houston native, said on Saturday. “Growing up, I was just around U of H from a young age being around my dad when he was a coach. Being around so many great players from U of H, it just means a lot. Playing the hometown team where I’m from, I know a couple of those guys, so it’s going to be fun.”

Michael Young had quite a career for the Cougars. He is currently third on Houston’s all-time scoring list with 2,043 career points, behind only Elvin Hayes and Otis Birdsong. Young is one of five players to have his number retired by the program. He was apart of three straight Final Four teams and was the 1982-83 SWC Player of the Year.

After his playing days, Young returned to Houston to as a coach in 1999. Despite all of the history, the present-day loyalty for the Young family is with the Scarlet Knights.

“I’m pretty sure he’s going to wear a Rutgers’ shirt first because you know, I’m his blood I’m his son,” Jacob Young said. “He’s always going to have the U of H love for them but I’m pretty sure it’s different when your son, or when someone that you raised is playing against your alma mater. He’s just hyped for it. He really wants us to win.”

Young has been a sparkplug for Rutgers since arriving. After two years at Texas, Young was lured to Piscataway by Steve Pikiell, and it has paid off right away. Young has been a leader for a Rutgers’ team that would be participating in their second-straight tournament if not for the pandemic.

In the 60-56 victory over Clemson on Friday night, Young finished with 13 points on 5-for-7 from the field, including three huge makes from 3-point range. If Rutgers wants to pick up an upset victory, Young will have to be a huge part of the game plan once again.

“Just really pumped up. Can’t wait,” Young said. “Going into it, thinking about my dad and what he did for the program back in the 80s. Who wouldn’t want to beat your hometown team?”

This game means a lot to the Rutgers’ basketball program at-large, but for Young, there is plenty of personal meaning.

“I know one thing, if we do get the win, I will go home back to Houston with a big smile on my face,” Young said.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7:10 PM inside Lucas Oil Stadium. If Young and the Scarlet Knights were to pick up a victory in this one, there is no doubt that it would put a smile on plenty of faces back in New Jersey.