ROCHESTER, Mich. - It's been a busy year for James Young.
The most talented high school basketball player in the state of Michigan had every college coach in America calling his name, convincing him to join their program.
In the midst of choosing his college home, he faced another decision, forcing him to handle more attention than the average high school senior.
The Decision, Part I
James Young has in-your-face talent. The dunks, natural ability, and breakaway speed, it's impossible to keep your jaw from dropping. The path he is on is the envy of everyone in his shoes.
"I think that's everybody's goal, to make it to the (NBA), so whatever I have to do to make it to the next level, it's just 'Whatever it takes,'" Young says.
With great talent, comes attention, and after his junior season at Troy High, all eyes in the college basketball world were on Young, a consensus Top-Ten player in the nation.
On national television, he held up a blue t-shirt and proclaimed his intention to attend the University of Kentucky.
A program rich in history, and the current leading avenue to the NBA, Young calls his selection "a way to help accomplish my dreams."
"I didn't think it would come this soon," he says of his national notoriety. "But I'm doing whatever I can to make it to the next level."
The Decision, Part II
His college plans were set, but after the much publicized choice to join the defending national champions, he had more personal decision.
His mother, Tiplance Vernon, was moving from Troy to Rochester for work. James could stay with family in Troy and finish his high school career as a Colt, or he could move with mom.
"My mom has always had a big impact on me. I've always looked up to my mom, she's a role model, and for me to be away from her that long, I just couldn't do it."
"Senior year, I just felt like I needed to be with her."
So Young made the transfer. After three years with Troy, he set his sights on senior year at Rochester High. A lot goes into a decision like that one, especially with the spotlight aimed directly at him. Knowing the area, having friends around the town, and having already committed to college; it all helped drive the final call.
"My mom was so happy," Young explains with a smile.
Talk the talk, walk the walk
He's living with his mom, and grandmother, and the love reaches beyond words.
Well, except on game days.
"They know not to talk to me on game days, because I'm in my zone," he laughs.
No doubt, every game, they are in the front row as his biggest cheerleaders.
The move has provided Young an opportunity to live up to the hype. In his first game, he admitted to reporters he was "nervous." Then he scored 29 points.
"He has raised the bar for our players, for our team," Rochester coach John Pleasant says.
A busy year, indeed, but life is only going to get busier from here.
And that's the way Young hopes it to be.
Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli .
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