Young’s Back, Baby
Sam Young wore his emotions on his Twitter handle a couple of weeks ago after he was told of his release by the Pacers.
“I need a hug,” he wrote.
It’s funny now that he’s back and in uniform with the Pacers, as he was Friday against Miami. It wasn’t so funny then. He had suffered a severe ankle sprain in practice a couple of days earlier, and while he was told he would be brought back when he healed, he still felt like an outsider.
“My ankle was hurting, I was sad, a little down on myself,” he said after playing 11 scoreless but effective minutes against the Heat. “I was sitting in the house by myself. I was hungry and I couldn’t get up and get any food. I was just watching TV. I was like, Man I need a hug.”
Some media reports had Young released because his contract was about to become guaranteed, but he knew he was coming back. Dominic McGuire was brought in to fill the void at small forward, and kept for two 10-day contracts, then Young was resigned. His tweet on Jan. 28 sang a different tune: “Baby I’m back!!!!!”
That’s five exclamation marks if you’re counting.
Young, who rehabbed on his own in the Fieldhouse during his temporary banishment, is averaging just 3.5 points this season, but remains a valuable asset because of his blue collar mindset and defensive focus. With Danny Granger out and Gerald Green on the shelf, he’s an essential backup at small forward, one who can defend the likes of LeBron James without embarrassment.
“You can put him on anybody and know he’s going to be in their face and be a pain for them,” coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s got good savvy on the offensive end, too. He’s not going to be a guy who scores 20 or 30 points, but he knows how to pick his spots and knows how to play the game.”
Young also comes across as a good locker room guy. He doesn’t say a lot, has little ego and maintains a sense of humor about himself. Friday, he pointed to locker neighbor Lance Stephenson and said, “I’m trying to get him together, he’s still wet behind the ears.”
It’s not clear whether Young got his hug, but he’s a welcome sight for the Pacers.