Augusta Chronicle

Assigned Reading: The cautionary tale of Korleone Young

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Earlier this week NCAA President Mark Emmert discussed the idea of possibly allowing players to enter the NBA Draft directly out of high school. Of course, the fact of the matter is that this decision rests in the hands of the NBA (its owners and players’ association would have to negotiate this as part of their collective bargaining agreement) so the college game won’t have much influence on whether or not things change in this regard.

Obviously there was a time when high school grads could make the jump immediately, with players such as Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett making good on the promise shown at the prep level. But for every Kobe or Kevin there were players like Leon Smith and Korleone Young whose careers failed to live up to the promise. Young’s story is of particular interest to college basketball fans, given the relationship between he and Myron Piggie while playing grassroots basketball for the Kansas City-based Children’s Mercy Hospital 76ers.

Young would eventually develop into one of the best prospects in the country, but instead of heading to college he entered the 1998 NBA Draft straight out of Hargrave Military Academy. From there evolved a cautionary tale that any prep phenom can learn from, even with today’s rules requiring that a player’s high school class be one year removed from graduation (and at least 19 years of age).

Young endured struggles in both basketball and his personal life, as illustrated in a story written by Jonathan Abrams of Grantland.

Life went on for Al Harrington, for [coach Alvin] Gentry, for [agent Jerome] Stanley, and for the others. Young’s life has become suspended in time, a Möbius strip of what-ifs. What if he’d had his father in his life? What if he’d never left Wichita East? What if he had gone to college? What if he had dedicated himself to the game? What if he’d studied the business of the NBA? What if he’d accepted responsibility earlier?

Where is Korleone Young now? Right where he started, still trying to get started.

This is an incredible story, something that all young players should take some time to read. The story can be read here.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.