UK Men's Basketball

'No problem whatsoever' with Young's eligibility

James Young dunked during last week's McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago. (McDonald's photo)
James Young dunked during last week's McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago. (McDonald's photo)

Rochester High School Coach John Pleasant says there's no need to worry about James Young's future with the Kentucky basketball team.

Young and fellow freshmen Aaron and Andrew Harrison were not in Lexington with their fellow newcomers to take part in summer workouts. Rumors swirled about their academic eligibility, but Pleasant was adamant Wednesday that Young will be ready to enroll later this month.

"He'll be good to go," Pleasant told the Herald-Leader. "I don't know whether he's actually cleared (by the NCAA) and all that stuff, but I know he's good to go (academically)."

When asked specifically about Young's academic status, Pleasant said there is "no question whatsoever" that he will be eligible to play this season.

The NCAA has a record of taking its time in ruling incoming athletes academically eligible, especially those who play winter sports. Players who participate in fall sports get priority in eligibility cases, since their seasons start earlier.

Pleasant directed all questions related to why Young didn't join his UK teammates this summer to the player's godfather, Sean Mahone, who directed those questions to UK.

"We fully expect all of our guys to be here by the end of August," UK spokesman John Hayden told the Herald-Leader. "The same thing we've been saying all along."

Mahone did give a short statement on Young's immediate future.

"We're very excited and we look forward to attending the University of Kentucky in the fall. We can't wait to get there," he said. "James is very excited to get on campus."

Young — a 6-foot-6 wing player — is a five-star prospect and part of what is considered to be one of the greatest recruiting classes of all time. He is expected to play considerable minutes as a freshman and is projected by some analysts to be a possible one-and-done NBA draft pick.

"I think he can have a really nice year playing with the amount of talent he's going to be playing with," Pleasant said. "He's a great shooter from three and that will serve him well. He's very athletic and can get to the rim well. He can score in pretty much every way.

"I think he'll do whatever he needs to do to help the team win. He loves to win. You could see that (mentality) during the McDonald's game and the Jordan game. He just does a little bit of everything. He brings energy, he rebounds well from the guard spot, he certainly shoots it well and he's also a very good passer."

The first day of fall classes at the University of Kentucky is August 28. Pleasant said Young can't wait to get to Lexington.

"He's ready to get down there and get with the guys and start working out," he said. "He's certainly been working hard up here. ... But he's ready to be there, for sure."