Every basketball lifer has their own unique journey. Basketball Journeys focuses on capturing and unpacking the stories of players, coaches, and lifers who have experienced the impact of their dedication to the game over time.
Our founder Martin Soaries talked with his former high school teammate and basketball lifer Devon Young.
Martin: My man. Thanks for taking the time. First, talk about your earliest basketball memories and influences, and how you remember falling in love with the game.
Devon: My earliest experiences with basketball come from my second birthday. My mom wanted to buy me a basketball set for my birthday but my dad didn’t want me to get one. Good thing women run the world and I got one. Since that day I’ve been in love with the game. I can remember distinctively growing up, my dad would play me one on one and beat me every time. He never let me beat him in anything and this caused me to become extremely competitive, even a sore loser at times. But it also instilled a desire to win no matter what.
Martin: I was fortunate enough to not only have won a state championship with you in high school, but I got to watch first-hand how your game came into its own. What does it feel like when you think about how far your game has come?
Devon: My game has grown to where I can be versatile and play any role on the court offensively and defensively. I am able to facilitate, set my teammates up and create for myself offensively. Defensively, I’m versatile enough to guard smaller and quick guards or bigger and strong forwards.
Video via Unguarded Media:
Martin: You had a great career at Felician College. Talk about how you grew as a player there.
Devon: My growth at Felician stems from me learning how to be a leader both with my actions and verbally. In high school, I was able to just worry about myself because we had so many seniors my last year including you as the voice of our team. Once I got to Felician, I became the team captain my sophomore year and had to adjust to having my voice heard during practice, meetings and games to keep the guys on the same page. It was a challenge at first but a necessary adjustment that was vital to us winning the conference championship my junior year and going to the NCAA tournament.
Martin: The game has changed so much even in our lifetime. What do you enjoy about the evolution of the game, and how do you think it’s influenced your approach to your game?
Devon: I’ve really enjoyed the evolution of the pick and roll. It’s becoming unstoppable and impossible to guard with the right pieces orchestrating the offense. Also, the evolution of the three point shot. It allows players that aren’t freakishly athletic such as myself to have a big impact on the game.
Martin: You have an active playing career, from overseas and semi-pro experience. Are you playing anywhere now? What has playing at some of the highest levels taught you as a student of the game?
Devon: I most recently had a private workout with the Westchester Knicks NBA D- League team. Playing at a high level has taught me to love the game. When you love the game and enjoy playing it, working hard and competing at a high level comes naturally.
Martin: Name some of the best players you’ve played with and against.
Devon: Andrew Bynum (HS), Michael Beasley (AAU), Michael Sterns (college), Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, Martin Soaries (HS).
Martin: To you, what makes basketball the best game?
Devon: Basketball is the best game because it is universal and so accessible. Basketball is played all over the world by some many different people. You can play it indoor or outdoor. You can play it by yourself or with a group of other people. It doesn’t matter whether you are young, old, big, small, male or female. You can even play with a piece of paper and a garbage can or just by using your imagination. It’s just such a beautiful sport to watch and play.
Q: Where can people find you online or on social media?