Former Deerfield and Clemson basketball star Andre Young is on the edge of his seat as he waits to hear whether he'll be taken in next week's NBA Draft, or possibly signed to a franchise's summer league team with a shot to make a roster next year.
CLEMSON, S.C. — Every time Andre Young’s cell phone goes off these days, there are butterflies in his stomach.
And why not? Every call could be a life-changer.
Young, the former Deerfield-Windsor and Clemson star point guard, is right on the cusp of getting picked up by a handful of NBA teams that have shown interest in his skills in advance of next Thursday’s draft. He’s already had two tryouts — the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings — and so far the feedback has been positive.
“Every time my agent (Adam Pensack) calls me or texts me, I hold my breath. It’s like, ‘OK, what kind of news do you have for me now?’ ” Young told The Herald on Wednesday evening from Clemson, S.C., where he’s currently living and training as he awaits word on his standing. “So far, everything Adam’s told me has been good, so we’re just waiting to see what happens next.”
Warriors head coach Mark Jackson and executive Jerry West, an NBA Hall of Famer, were both on hand for Young’s audition last Friday. Pensack said his client played well during both tryout
“I was at the Sacramento Kings’ practice facility for Andre’s workout against Maalik Wayns from Villanova. I spoke with three people from the Kings’ front office after the workout and all of them provided extremely positive feedback about Andre,” Pensack wrote in an email to The Herald late last week after the first round of tryouts concluded. “They said he consistently knocked down shots, drove to the basket well, defended well (good position defense and got a lot of steals), and distributed the ball very well. They also said he competed extremely hard and really played well throughout the workout. The feedback was outstanding and we are now working to get this information to every other team in the NBA in order to secure workouts with additional NBA teams. We have interest already from a few more teams and will work to solidify workout dates with them in the near future.”
Pensack added in a second email Wednesday afternoon that the additional teams that have inquired about Young include the Atlanta Hawks, the Charlotte Bobcats, the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I have been working the phones non-stop since those workouts to inform other teams about Andre’s performance, and we are still hopeful in getting a few more workouts prior to the draft. No concrete dates yet but Atlanta and Charlotte said all along it was possible they would bring Andre in the week prior to the draft so we are looking to lock up some dates soon,” he wrote. “A few other teams have also expressed some interest since the Kings workout (most notably San Antonio and the LA Lakers).”
Young, whose tryout with the Warriors was conducted with several likely first-round picks — including Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Marcus Teague (Kentucky), John Henson (UNC) and Bernard James (Florida State) — said he was admittedly nervous during the initial audition, but thinks he performed better in his second with the Kings.
“I wouldn’t say I was intimidated or anything (at my first one), just a little nervous because I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “But once we got going — doing some shooting, ball handling, some 3-on-3 and 1-on-1 — I was more relaxed and had fun. We were just playing ball.”
The next day, he played for the Kings’ assistant coaches — along with big names like Terrance Jones (Kentucky) and Kevin Jones (West Virginia) — and said he felt that he shined.
“I just hit a lot more shots, did a really good job getting to the basket and making the right decisions,” Young said. “I don’t think the tryout with the Warriors was bad or anything, I just think that one (with the Kings) went better.”
Pensack said if Young isn’t drafted next week, plenty of options still exist for him to make an NBA roster.
“The Warriors provided some positive feedback and said they will definitely consider Andre for summer league if he isn’t drafted,” he wrote. “The Kings provided extremely positive feedback and said Andre is in consideration for summer league with them as well if he goes undrafted.”
Pensack said, predictably, there was only one knock on the 5-foot-9 Young: his height.
“The only knock on Andre voiced by the Kings was his height, but they had a lot of success drafting (former Washington point guard) Isaiah Thomas (also listed at 5’9”) with the last pick in last year’s draft,” Pensack said. “Overall, the feedback was very good.”
And right now, with his future possibly hanging on the next ring of his telephone, that’s music to Young’s ears.
“I just feel blessed to even have the opportunity to get in front of these teams and show them what I can do,” he said. “I’m staying optimistic and just waiting for that call.”