Palmetto's Jordan Young named 2013-14 Herald All-Area Basketball Player of the Year

adell@bradenton.comApril 20, 2014 

The "it factor" is a popular term fans use to describe a player who has a knack for coming through in clutch situations.

Palmetto High senior Jordan Young displayed those characteristics and in the process earned himself the nod as the 2013-14 Herald Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

The 6-foot-5 guard/forward averaged nearly a double-double, putting up 14.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

"We knew we would get rebounds and scoring from Jordan, but he scored in so many different ways, whether it was off rebounds, 3-point shooting, getting to the line or in transition," Palmetto head coach Reggie Bellamy said. "His best attributes were his length and athleticism, and he was our best rebounder numbers wise."

The most impressive thing about Young was his ability to come through in pressure-packed games.

In the Tigers' district championship victory on the road at North Port, Young scored 23 points, pulled down 22 rebounds and blocked three shots in what was arguably the area's best single-game performance of the season. He scored 12 points in the fourth quarter when the Tigers broke the game open, hitting shots from NBA 3-point range, and had 10 rebounds.

"I like those types of situations. It doesn't make me nervous. It gives me confidence," Young said. "I like playing against tough competition in big games. I don't worry how far out I am when I shoot. Coach just told me set my feet and let it fly."

Young maintained a torrid scoring pace throughout the Tigers' run to the region final.

In Palmetto's region quarterfinal win over Tarpon Springs, he scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. In a tough semifinal road win before a hostile crowd at Seminole, he had 20 points (7-of-12 shooting) and eight rebounds.

In a region final loss to Melbourne, Young's shooting was off and he was limited to nine points, but he showed his physicality by grabbing a team-high 12 rebounds. In the Tigers' last four postseason games, he led the team in scoring (18 points per game) and rebounding (12.6 per game).

Young grew up in St. Louis and played at East St. Louis High at the beginning of his junior year, when he moved to Palmetto to live with his brother, Justin.

Young said it was a difficult at first joining a team in midseason, but he settled in this year, and that allowed his natural talent to flow, particularly in the postseason.

But he never is content with the state of his game and is always looking to improve.

"It was a difficult situation for him. Jordan showed up after the season started last year and then went back to St. Louis during the summer," Bellamy said. "All the things we did last summer he wasn't a part of, so he wasn't able to receive some of the growth and development the other kids received."

After sitting out five games due to an injury, Young returned around playoff time and started to excel. But the versatile swingman says he has a long way to go and is determined to make himself into a high-level college prospect.

"The strongest part of my game is shooting and getting to the basket, mainly penetrating. But I need to work on my defense and try to hustle more," Young said.

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