Josh Young, one of Drake’s most successful basketball players, carries his career onward by pursuing his passion for basketball professionally in Germany.
In his time at Drake, Young garnered multiple All-Missouri Valley Conference honors, racked up 1,789 points in his career and helped the Bulldogs secure a bid in the 2008 NCAA tournament, the program’s first since 1971.
Since graduating, Young has been with three different teams, beginning with a trial period with the Austin Toros, which is the San Antonio Spurs’ NBA Development League affiliate. He continued his career with a year-long contract with German Pro-B league team, Bayer Leverkusen. Young’s solid play gave him the ability to weigh his options on his next team. He ended up choosing a team in Germany’s top division, joining the Walter Tiger, in Tubingen, Germany.
“Some teams will bring you in for a workout if you switch teams, but usually they have been watching you and scouting you through the year,” Young said. “I got a lot of good looks from teams in Germany, and Tubingen was the one who got really excited about my potential, and they wanted to sign me for this year, and so I made the deal.”
Since joining the squad, he has been a sixth man for the Tigers, playing in a very competitive and American-dominated Bundesliga, which is the name for the top German basketball league. The Walter Tigers are currently ranked 12th in the 18-team league.
“I love the situation here; great system, great people, the town is small, and it is nice, my coach (Igor Perovic) is really a players’ coach, and I’ve learned a lot more this year,” Young said.
Living and working in Germany for two years has been a mostly smooth transition for Young, but he has learned a lot about himself along the way.
“I think you grow in different ways, understanding that you have to treat yourself as a professional, taking care of your body, making sure that you are eating right, making sure you are training at the highest level, so I think that my mindset along with a lot of other things has grown,” Young said.
Young added that taking care of his body has been essential to his success.
“When I got here, I was just a regular person. Now I have to be a chef, a butler, a maid, a barber,” he said. “It teaches you a lot of different traits you may not have had to learn had you not been in the situation. It is really a good learning experience.”
For the first time in the two years that he has been living in Germany, his mother, LaSonya, will be joining him abroad. She has been helping him foster his dream since a young age.
“I think from about the time Josh was two, everything became a ball. It didn’t matter if it was socks or a bowl that became a goal,” LaSonya Young said. “To watch him grow up and really love this game, and now to see him actually do this as his work, I couldn’t be more happy for him.”
LaSonya Young added that she cannot wait to see how her son lives in Germany.
“I’m excited first of all about seeing where he lives, and then meeting some of the people because you know whenever he was away, even at Drake, I wanted him to be surrounded by good people,” LaSonya Young said. “So I think, as a mother, I want to take that opportunity to go over and see these people face to face, to tell them, you know my son is away from me and you take him in, and you love him and take care of him.”
Not only does Josh Young enjoy the food and the extensive family values, he has also started to pick up the German language.
“Most people know English here, and they use it when they are talking to you, but if you know German, obviously they would much rather speak in their native tongue,” he said. “I have been picking up on some of the language, and I think if I’m going to live somewhere outside the United States, I should be able to pick up the language.”
It is a good thing he is picking up the language because at the end of this season, Young was offered a two-year contract with the Walter Tigers, and after much discussion with his family and thought on his part, he has decided to stay in Germany.
“I don’t know how much better my game will be in the next couple years because I can see how much my game has improved this year,” Young said. “And if it improves like this next year, I will be playing at an even higher level than I even was in college, so that will allow me to have a lot more offers to even play at a higher level.”
LaSonya Young just wants her son to be happy.
“It’s like my husband and I told him, if there is a lot of games and fun in your system, just keep playing until you get it out of your system, and just for me to see him play at this level, I am very happy for him,” LaSonya Young said.