James Young is a very talented young man. Emphasis on the young (he won't turn 20 till August). He's had an up and down first season in the league and nobody is really surprised by that. But the NBA doesn't wait long for you to grow up. You have a few shots and you have to take advantage of them.
That's the lesson that Gerald Wallace (never shy with his advice) wants to make sure the young guy understands.
Gerald Wallace, 13 years Young’s senior, is hoping the kid is paying attention to what’s happening to him now. "You know what, this whole season should be a lesson for him," Wallace said of Young. "You can pick any message you want to give him. It’s up to him to pay attention. It’s like talking to a parrot, you know? You can only talk for so long. Eventually he’s got to understand and want it, and it’s got to sink in to him. They only understand and repeat the words that they want to understand and repeat. But it is what it is." There can be no question of Young’s skill level, and the 17th overall pick from last June’s draft appears to be a good kid, as well. But success in the NBA is more than a matter of talent.
There are more quotes from Wallace but I'll make you click the link to read them all.
On one hand, I am not overly concerned by these comments because Young is young and he's got some growing up to do. I shudder to think what would happen if I had reporters tracking my movements when I was 19 years old.
On the other hand, comments like these aren't made in a vacuum. Wallace must see something in Young that is lacking. Be it dedication, preparation, or simply the ability to process the information quickly enough. He wants to send a message to Young and it sounds like he's been trying to do that for a while. Granted, Wallace isn't the coach, but sometimes a message like this resonates more from a guy that entered the league at 19 and has been playing for 14 seasons.
It reminds me of the stories we've heard of Kevin Garnett trying to teach young big men to come through Boston. If they paid attention, he was their best friend. If they didn't, he was done with them and they never lasted long. Gerald isn't KG but he's still got some lessons to teach and James Young would be wise to pay attention.