December 1, 2010 12:04:00 PM
Brittany Young doesn''t sound like an ordinary freshman.
A broadcast communication major, Young already has the art of the interview down. She is eager, informed, and at ease handling questions in the first of what likely will be many interviews.
In time, Young, a 5-foot-9 freshman from Birmingham, Ala., will get to talk about her scoring, rebounding, and defensive exploits. This time, though, Young was more than willing to discuss the challenges she faces transitioning from high school to college.
Young admits the move has been "overwhelming" at times, but she is doing what she can to become more comfortable every day.
"I knew it would be much faster and more in depth and more intense," Young said. "The expectations are high for me, but I am just going to take it slowly. I know it is a process, and I am going to take small steps and get better every day, and that is what I am doing now."
Young hopes to take another step at 7 tonight when MSU (3-1) plays host to Louisiana Tech (2-3) in another key non-conference test. The Lady Bulldogs are coming off a 74-31 victory Sunday against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Tonight, though, they figure to face a bigger challenge against an experienced Lady Techsters team that has lost its last three games.
Young showed more signs of maturity and grabbed five rebounds and had a steal in 15 minutes against UAPB. She has scored only two points and is averaging 12 minutes per game, but she plays with the same poise on the court that you hear in her voice during an interview. With 11 rebounds, three assists, and two steals, Young has shown a willingness to do whatever the Lady Bulldogs need, whether it is at small forward or at shooting guard.
With junior guard Porsha Porter coming off a sprained ankle against UAPB and questionable for tonight''s game, Young likely will face another evening of split duty. But she knows more minutes at several positions will help her find her comfort zone even quicker.
Things were simple in high school. She averaged 9.7 assists as a senior and helped Midfield High win four consecutive Class 4A state titles. Young said she played multiple positions at Midfield High but that things, including the number of plays, weren''t nearly as advanced as they are at MSU.
"In high school, I was a starter and I was learning things and doing them in the first group, so it was easier doing it than now when I am on the sidelines," Young said. "People think that since you''re on the side you should know what to do, but when you have been watching and then you have to do it is is different."
Young said she is adjusting to that difference and to playing two positions every practice and every game. She said she feels more comfortable at small forward because she feels that position allows her to showcase her versatility.
"At this point my job is to be aggressive when I get into the game and when a shot presents itself to take it," Young said. "I have never been a player to force anything. If I see an open person I am going to get an assist or I am going to rebound or play good defense. I am going to feed off my teammates and do the intangibles to help the team win."
Young said she is going to have the same mind-set when she is on the bench, cheering her opponents on. MSU coach Sharon Fanning-Otis loves Young''s attitude and said she is a "blessing" to coach.
"(With Brittany) it is whatever I can do to help the team," Fanning-Otis said. "She is so flexible in trying to learn whatever position it is, or if someone doesn''t know a position or if someone is hurt or if it is something she doesn''t even know. She is learning the game in various positions and is always willing to give to her teammates. It is priceless to have a teammate who works hard and does the little things."
Fanning-Otis said Young is willing to scrap for loose balls, to take charges, or to set screens if that''s what the Lady Bulldogs need. For an inexperienced team with five junior college transfers and four freshman, Young''s approach to the game could help set an example and bring everyone closer together.
"She has accepted (her) role in a very responsible and positive way," Fanning-Otis said. "She plays the game a play ahead. She has a knack for that and she is a winner. I have been very pleased with her progress.
"If she keeps her focus and keeps working hard like she is she is going to be a very, very valuable part of our success."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.