By J.P. Pelosi
Having 'NBA experience' in the National Basketball League leaps off a player's resume like the 'Sausage King of Chicago'.
But unlike Ferris Bueller's little act of creative non-fiction, D.C. native, Sam Young, had no need to convince us of credentials: His impact on the Australian competition has certainly been instant.
Young charges the hoop with abandon; is bullish with men in front of him on the perimeter; and his athleticism in the open court is stunning. It's because of this movement, and undoubtedly some level of internal mayhem - the sort that leads a player to sleep in the gym as he did at the University of Pittsburgh - that I question why Young is no longer in the NBA.
Now, I'm obviously thrilled he's here, at least for this season until he takes off for the Bayamon Cowboys in Puerto Rico. After all, it's been a while since Kings fans have seen their purple and gold blaze across the arena for the sort of dunks that loosen the bolts from a backboard. Yes, young belts the ball through the cylinder like Donkey Kong crushing barrels.
However, it's not just the dunks that dazzle but the spins and jabs and up-and-unders, and other contortions he does to make baskets. Young scores. He should come with a small travel tag that says so. He punches paths to the middle, despite the fact that his six-foot-six frame is broad and heavy, like a Mack Truck trying to squeeze through a back alley. In short, his power overcomes his bulk, but that probably doesn't intrigue most NBA clubs longing for a long and agile two-guard.
In the NBL though, size is size, and someone who can score will be slotted into the line up, no questions asked. That's simply a product of supply and demand.
The flip-side of this story of course, is that Young will only play a single season in Sydney before Puerto Rico, where presumably the attraction is playing among bigger bodies that can ready one for The Bigs once more. Still, I'm not convinced the opportunity is greater than spearheading the southern hemisphere's version of Showtime in Sydney. Though I'm sure the money is.
The Kings surely need Young's scoring clout for a chance at the title, even though it meant losing their point guard, Jesse Sanders. At the time, I considered it a disastrous move because the squad is loaded with size and few players to steer the offense. But Young has been incredible, sometimes catapulting beyond other players like an Apollo ship around the moon, while other times whirling past them like a giant spinning top.
This is nothing new: He weaved this work with regularity in Memphis and Indiana, in case you've forgotten.
Hey, what I can tell you? The NBA's loss is very much the NBL's gain.