Former Deerfield star and current Clemson starting point guard Andrew Young smiles as he holds up his No. 11 jersey that was retired Tuesday night during a ceremony. Young left DWS as the school’s all-time leading scorer. (john.millikan@albanyherald.com)

Former Deerfield star and current Clemson starting point guard Andrew Young smiles as he holds up his No. 11 jersey that was retired Tuesday night during a ceremony. Young left DWS as the school’s all-time leading scorer. (john.millikan@albanyherald.com)

ALBANY — For four years, Andre Young dazzled Deerfield-Windsor fans with his speed, defense and athleticism.

On Tuesday, it was Young’s turn to be speechless.

The 2008 DWS graduate stood on his old high school court before Tuesday’s game between the Knights and Tiftarea as his high school career was remembered and then enshrined by DWS boys coach Gordy Gruhl, who officially retired Young’s No. 11 Knights jersey.

Young didn’t speak in front of the packed house — which was filled with former teammates and friends to witness the ceremony — but if he had spoken he would have had trouble putting into words what his time at Deerfield-Windsor meant to him.

“I would have had a lot of people to thank. I definitely couldn’t have done this by myself. … I couldn’t even explain it in words,” said Young, who is now a senior at Clemson and leading the Tigers in scoring as its starting point guard.

His career has taken off since shedding his DWS jersey for Clemson gear four years ago, but he was adamant Tuesday evening that he won’t forget where he came from.

“It’s a great honor and a great feeling to have all of these people here,” said the 5-foot-9 point guard, whose number is the third to be retired by the boys basketball program — and just the seventh athlete in the school’s history.

Young then added: “You look around and you see familiar faces. Everyone went their own way, but they all came back for this and to celebrate this event.”

Gruhl looked into the crowd full of those supporters before he coached the Knights to a 74-24 win against Tiftarea, and the longtime DWS coach explained how much Young meant to both the school and the basketball program.

“It’s kind of tough to talk about (how much Young has meant),” Gruhl said as he paused and teared up. “I was just like this at his graduation day.”

Gruhl may have momentarily struggled to find the right words, but there’s no doubt how much Young still means to his former coach.

“He was just one of those players that if you stay in it long enough you are fortunate to get one guy like that,” Gruhl said before the ceremony. “He was the consummate team player. The kid is a great student. The biggest thing about him is that I have never in all the 28 years I have been here seen somebody that everybody loves. The teachers loved him. The kids loved him. He was a great role model for the young players, and he left a great legacy. He set the bar for the teams behind him.”

The bar couldn’t be any higher at Deerfield-Windsor, where Young left his name all over the record book. His school record 2,062 points began with a floater during the first game his freshman year.

“I actually remember my first basket,” said Young, who had a 9 a.m. practice Tuesday for Clemson before making the 10-hour trip to Albany for the ceremony. “It was just a floater shot on the baseline. We won the game, and I remember thinking it was a fast game because I had just come from middle school.”

He quickly learned how to adjust to the new speed — a trait he carried straight to Clemson.

He was a four-year starter at DWS and earned a full ride to Clemson, where he will graduate this year with honors with a degree in heath science. Young, who averaged 22 points and five assists a game his senior year in high school, is also the career assists leader at DWS and finished with a 96-10 career record.

He currently leads Clemson (8-6) in scoring with 12.9 points per game, while he’s first in steals with 23 and second in assists with 51. But Gruhl said the star point guard is about much more than basketball.

“It’s nice to be able to honor somebody with the kind of character as Andre Young,” Gruhl said. “We were very blessed to have him here at this school.”

And every step along the way, Andre’s father, Colie Young, was right by his side. Colie said he knew his son was going to be special nearly 20 years ago.

“When he was 2, we bought him a basketball and a baseball,” Colie said. “He took the baseball, and just like a pitcher he wound up and threw it. My wife said, ‘He’s going to be a baseball player.’ He never threw that baseball again. I hid the baseball, and I said, ‘Here’s the basketball.’ ”

Andre grabbed the basketball and never looked back. At the age of 2, he was emulating Michael Jordan’s reverse dunks in his living room. Nearly two decades later, kids are now emulating him.

“The hard work paid off,” Colie said. “He’s gone on to another chapter, but the story has not ended. At this point he has been contacted by eight different agents on Facebook. I spoke to one of them last night. He has some aspirations of going overseas to play basketball. I understand that the NBA is a long shot, especially with his size, but he has some opportunities to play overseas.”

Andre said he hasn’t made a decision on his basketball future and is fully focused on his senior season at Clemson, where he opens up ACC play Saturday against Florida State.

“My main focus is with the team right now, because we have another half of the season left to play,” Young said. “Afterwards, I just hope to play somewhere. We will just see where our opportunities lie. I will get with the coaches and my family, and we will make a decision.”

For now, Young is content with concentrating on his college career and celebrating his high school days.

Young’s number is the first to be retired at DWS since former Knight and Georgia Bulldog Joey Carroll’s No. 52 in 2003. Other DWS basketball jerseys retired are those of Perry Revell (No. 25), Teresa Brown (No. 15), Kellie Gardner (No. 14) and Fain Spurlock (No. 21). Former Knights football star Wayne Riles also has his number retired.

Young’s jersey will forever be preserved in a case outside the DWS gymnasium, right alongside the rest of the school’s revered history. However, a quick glance over his shoulder, and Young realized the wall full of encased jerseys seemed to be full.

“I guess I wouldn’t mind taking it with me and putting it up on my own wall,” Young said with a smile.

He might as well.

They’ll never forget him at Deerfield-Windsor anyway.

Comments

coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

I wonder how he ended up at Deerfield in the first place.....hmmmm.....Was it his good academic skills and high test scores?

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ghostofkarelia 2 years, 11 months ago

You're just mad because DWS grads actually become something.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

I could care less. I'm glad the kid was given a chance by Deerfield.....why would I be mad at that??? I just noticed that the star running back and this star kid happen to be ummmmmmmm............"talented".....lol

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 11 months ago

What does that suppose to mean?? Deerfield always have a good football and basketball team. If you don't have anything good to say...don't say it at all...

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dominiquedamac 2 years, 11 months ago

He went to Deerfield because his Dad sent him to that school. He would have went to Westover but they had a full roster and he wanted to play so he went to Deerfield.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

How many kids from Deerfield ever made it to the NFL or NBA?

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Jacob 2 years, 11 months ago

How many kids from the DCSS went to state and federal pens? LOL. I'm sure the percentages are higher than those who became pro athletes..

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

This is not a comparision....just wanna know how many kids from Deerfield ever made it to the NFL or NBA? Why compare apples with oranges? Why be so defensive and negative? Do you know the answer to the question?

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Jacob 2 years, 11 months ago

Don't be coy, Coach. We all know you were trying to stir the racial pot, as usual. Do you have any other cards in your deck? You were clearly attempting to belittle this young man's accomplishment and point out that public school athletics are superior. Obviously, the talent level there is better, for athletics, if for no other reason, a wider pool to choose from. You made it clear that you didn't want to make any other comparisons, and I wouldn't either if I were you. What do you think the percentages are for DW grads vs. DCSS grads who finish college, who don't have children out of wedlock, who don't live off the public teat, who don't rely on charity for medical intervention, who don't go to prison or get on probation, who don't use illegal drugs, etc.... Like I said, I don't blame you for avoiding other comparisons...

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

So, is that how you answer a question? You bring up all these other comparisions in the world to avoid the original question.....Do you teach your kids avoid questions in school also? Thats what politicians do....ok, try again......answer the "original" question....c'mon.....tell me...tell me!!!

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 11 months ago

Coach is just upset that DW puts academic standards before athletic ability. So Athletes from DW can pass over ASU for Colleges like Clemson, UGA, GT and the likes because they have the grade qualifications to backup their athletic abilities. So Coach give us the numbers on that comparison. Percentage of DCSS vs DW athletes who go on to top rated Colleges. Bet this is one YOU avoid…

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

Not you too tax-boy....why cant you stick to the topic and answer the question? Is it in your blood to avoid the issue at hand? I'll speak on your question when its time. My question has never been answered. Roberts Rule of Order........try again tax-boy

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 11 months ago

Knew you would avoid it, just more excuses from you anytime it involves education.. I know you only have one “card” to play but at least I still have enough respect for you not to call you “boy”. Just proves what level you want to be on!!

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 11 months ago

If you cant answer the question, go pay your taxes and be quiet.

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Abytaxpayer 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for reaffirming the kind of person you are. Your apology, well lack there of, proves you are only here to provoke people even stooping so low as name calling……

Just so you know I do not have the information to answer your but I have ask Herald staff to Research it just for you.

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coachjohnson42 2 years, 10 months ago

I can answer it for you......ZERO!!!

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Alb5any 2 years, 9 months ago

Coach, shut the hell up. You are a retard.

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