How Josh Young Went From Cut In The D-League To Reclaiming Confidence Overseas

Back in 2010, Josh Young's stint in the D-League with the Austin Toros lasted only two games. Today, Young is the third-leading scorer for Walter Tigers Tuebingen in Germany's Beko BBL and has found a renewed faith in his game playing abroad.

There is a pretty good chance you're not that familiar with Josh Young.

What about Dominique Archie, Lance Thomas, Garrett Williamson, Marcus Hubbard, Vernon Hamilton, Shagari Alleyne and Scooter McFagdon?

Back in early November 2010, they were all players chosen by the Austin Toros in the D-League draft and reported to Austin days later to begin training camp for the 2010-2011 season, the first step in their individual journeys to the NBA. At least that was the hope for guys like Young.

The accolades certainly held weight coming out of college.

The 6-foot-1 point guard graduated from Drake University in 2010 as the programs' all-time leader in scoring, three-point baskets and free throws made, not to mention a three-time All-Missouri Valley Conference recipient. But something changed once training camp opened for the Toros.

Young lost his confidence.

Ten days after being drafted and beginning his professional career, the Austin Toros saw everything they needed from Young at the point. After two games he was looking for a new job playing ball.

"It was a good experience, but it was a time when I wasn't playing with a lot of confidence," Young said this week in an interview with the Des Moines Register.

"People had high expectations, but I didn't come in with the right mindset. I didn't show up to play. It was out of character for me. I remember thinking, I would have cut me too."

It was a teaching moment.

Young not only learned about the hard facts of life after college, but that his decision to become a professional basketball player would be as much about perseverance as it was about being in the right place at the right time. Before deciding to go the D-League route, Young had overseas offers from both Norway and Morocco which he declined, but once he was waived from the Toros the one offer that came his way was from Leverkusen in Germany's Pro-B third division.

The game plan: perform well in the lower level Leverkusen and hopefully be recognized by an upper division team in Germany or around Europe.

It wasn't exactly the dream Young had growing up as a kid in Lawton, Oklahoma.

"Every kid that grows up in America dreams of playing in the NBA. I don't think you'll never meet a kid who says he wants to play overseas. But there comes a time when your perception has to meet reality."

About 5,000 miles away from home, Young's reality featured a renewed confidence in him himself and his game by making the jump overseas where he played 11 games. In that rookie span, Young averaged 26.7 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals per game and returned to the States during the offseason with a refined faith.

He'd come a long way from packing up his suitcase in Austin, Texas after getting cut and hitting the unknown road ahead.

Now Young knows he belongs.

A number of clubs in Germany's 18-team Beko BBL were interested in Young and eventually he decided to sign this year with Walter Tigers Tuebingen. Ranking as their third leading scorer through 28 games at 10.4 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 22 minutes per game, there have been times this season where Young wasn't sure if he would return to Tuebingen next season or not.

The team held the second-year team option on his contract. He felt like he'd performed well enough to warrant coming back, but in this business you just never know.

"Now this is a job. I'm big on preparation on anything that I do in life. I'm also the kind of person that lives in the moment," Young explained.

"I know wherever I end up that is where I am meant to be."

Two weeks ago, Young learned he is meant to be in Tuebingen next season and then some.

He signed a two-year contract extension with the team that will keep him with the franchise through the 2013-14 season. Still, questions linger. His game is there. The confidence is as strong as ever. So is taking care of some unfinished business in the D-League in his future?

Surely his staying power would extend well beyond two games this time around.

"Only if I knew that I was on an NBA teams' radar, otherwise probably not," said Young.

"It feels good to know I'm wanted by Tuebingen. I'm excited for what the future holds."

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