Young surprise pick by NBA's SonicsNorth Carolina Central University senior David Young had his dream fulfilled Thursday night when the Seattle Supersonics selected the All-CIAA guard with the 41st overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft.
Young, NCCU's first NBA draft pick in 21 years, sat alone in an Atlanta hotel room when he saw his name flash on the television as the 12th player chosen in the second round.
"Wow," he said, "God is good."
After ending his college career as the Eagles' top scorer in 2003-04 with 20.5 points per game, Young faced a long and tough journey around the NBA workout circuit. He had workouts with the Houston Rockets (May 24), Washington Wizards (May 27), Los Angeles Lakers (May 28 and June 23), Seattle Supersonics (June 4 and June 19), Detroit Pistons (June 14), San Antonio Spurs (June 15), Dallas Mavericks (June 17), Miami Heat (June 21) and Atlanta Hawks (June 22).
"I knew I had real strong workouts with the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami and Seattle, and they all had good things to say about me," he said. "I felt it was just a matter of time.
"I have endured and persevered through a lot of tough times." Young said reflecting on his life and basketball career. "I have always dreamed about playing in the NBA. I got a second opportunity at North Carolina Central University and now my dream has come true."
Young came to NCCU via Xavier University, where he saw his playing time diminish after three seasons with the Musketeers. The 1999 Pennsylvania State Player of the Year made a big impact during his only season in Durham, becoming the first Eagle in 21 years to net more than 200 field goals in a single season.
Ironically, the last Eagle to accomplish that feat is also the school's last NBA draft pick. David Binion was chosen by Seattle in the 10th round as the 221st overall pick in the 1983 draft after averaging 22.4 points per contest and earning All-CIAA honors as a senior.
A year earlier, NCCU's Donald Sinclair was a 10th round selection (217 overall) by the Washington Bullets.
Then there was Joe Pridgen in 1969 (Round 18, San Diego Rockets), Lee Davis in 1968 (Round 10, Phoenix Suns), and Ted Manning, NCCU's all-time leading scorer, in 1965 (Round 5, Detroit Pistons).
Of course, the school's first and most notable NBA draftee came in 1957 when the Boston Celtics chose future Hall-of-Famer Sam Jones with the eighth pick in the first round of the draft.
Excerpts from the Seattle Supersonics site on NBA.com
Young didn't even get a write-up in the NBA's official draft guide, and when ESPN's Mike Tirico announced the pick, he said that Young was from North Carolina Charlotte.
Savvy hoop fans, however, have known for a while that Young was a sleeper in this year's draft.
"A lot of gym buzz late in the week focused on David Young, an unheralded player who reportedly rained shame on Kirk Snyder in a Seattle workout recently," reported HoopsHype.com's George Rodecker from Chicago earlier this month.
Known as D.Y., he may have originally been part of the workout schedule to push other players. But after the Snyder bashing, he's continued to climb on several NBA teams' list.
Yesterday (Saturday, June 19), Rodecker was even more laudatory about Young.
"Last week, we mentioned North Carolina Central's David Young was making inroads in his workouts and had attracted attention," he wrote. "He has continued his explosive debut on the workout trail. Second trips, impressive one-and-done visits and now Young is being mentioned as a late first-round sleeper with tremendous poise and work ethic. We're hearing he may go as high as 27, but could fall to 44."
"He is a tough defender and good scorer, he averaged 22 points (last season)," said Sonics Head Coach, Nate McMillan. "He really competes when he's out on the floor. His strength is just his mental toughness. He was all about business (when he worked out here). A few teams had him in twice to look at him and his workouts for us were really good. He was all business. Defensively, he can hold his own, and offensively, he's a scorer. Looking at those factors and knowing we're looking for that kind of toughness at (pick) 41, we felt like that was pretty good."
"We brought him in for a workout, liked him, and then brought him in for a second workout," added GM Rick Sund. "We liked him very much."
There are some similarities between Young's story and that of current Sonics guard Ronald "Flip" Murray. Murray played at Shaw University, which is also in the CIAA, and he was the 42nd pick two years ago before breaking out this season. The Sonics aren't expecting Young to be that pleasant of a surprise,but the possibility also can't be ruled out.
"He does have an opportunity to make our team," concluded McMillan. "We'll look at him in summer league."
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