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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: James Young is the X-Factor

Leading up to Big Blue Madness, A Sea of Blue will be previewing each scholarship player on the 2013-14 basketball team. This is the James Young edition.


James Young was one of the earliest to commit to the epic class of 2013. In October of 2012, Young made it official and held up a shirt reading "Kentucky Bound" in front of a live audience on ESPNU. But really, this should have come as no surprise to anyone that follows college basketball recruiting.

Young chose Kentucky over Michigan State, Syracuse and Kansas, but the Wildcats were a frontrunner since the start for the talented player.

"Kentucky has always been my dream school," said Young, who made his announcement while pulling out a "Kentucky Bound" blue T-shirt with his last name on it. "Once I went up there to visit, I just fell in love with the place.

"I'm not just looking for the NBA. I'm looking for an education and a national championship and that's about it."

Now James Young is living his dream and is playing for John Calipari, a coach that he has always admired.

Young's talent is extreme and versatile. He is listed on Rivals as a small forward but he has the capability of playing shooting guard as well. While Marcus Lee is looked at as the energy guy for Kentucky, James Young is being looked at as the "X-Factor" for the Wildcats; a player that will come off the bench and bring a multitude of skills onto the court that will make opposing coaches pull out their hair.

He is another McDonalds All American that John Calipari will have at his disposal to help lead this team to what could be a very special season. Young has a positive attitude and is extremely happy to be a Wildcat.


Height - 6'6

Weight - 200

Position - Small Forward

Recruiting Break Down*- #3 Small Forward; #11 Player Overall (according to Rivals)


Young is a high-flying slasher that does the bulk of his damage from the wing. But something that he brings to the team is lights out three point shooting. This skill is a bit of a surprise to John Calipari. Young is known as a solid shooter, but reports are coming out of early practices that he may be the best three point shooter on the team, even better than Aaron Harrison. If this holds true, then Young's game will be almost unguardable. He will give Kentucky a second player that can play the small forward position and shoot from the beyond the arch, the other being Alex Poythress. Young is also skilled enough with the ball and is so good on the perimeter that he can also play shooting guard; much like Darius Miller was able to do during his time at Kentucky.


Like most high school players transitioning to the college game, there may be issues with Young's strength. But John Calipari seems un-phased as he has recently commented that Young is much tougher physically than he is given credit. If Young can continue to get stronger and stay healthy, the sky is the limit for this kid.

Coach Calipari On James Young:

"James is a long, athletic and skilled wing. He's a lefty who can shoot it and get in transition. You can throw it ahead to him and he can make basketball plays. He rebounds the ball for his position as well anyone in the class."

2013 Expectations:

While James Young might not be looked at as a starter, he is going to be a vital part to what John Calipari wants to do with this team. The depth that John Calipari has to work with this season may be the best since he has been at Kentucky. Young is a player that can contribute at two positions for the ‘Cats.

While his shooting and scoring is all the rage, his defense is often overlooked. Young is a long 6-6 and he can become a lockdown defender at shooting guard for Kentucky. He is also a great leaper, which adds rebounding to his repertoire.

We've seen players that weren't starters for Kentucky still be NBA draft picks during the John Calipari era and James Young may be the next to earn that distinction. He possesses the size and the skills to be an NBA player and he is currently being projected as the fourteenth pick in the 2014 draft according to

But Young could work his way into the starting lineup, depending on matchups and need. He is the X-Factor for Kentucky as he is a guy that can do just about anything for this team and is a player that would be an absolute star on any other team in the country. That's what makes him special; he was able to put his ego aside and become a part of a team that is full of stars.

The kid is a stud as is evidenced in his mix tape.

2012/2013 Recruit Mix Tape:

In the Next Preview: Dominique Hawkins is Living His Dream