Boys & Girls star shines on Merrimack

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Tyler Young had a couple of Division I schools that were very interested, he had an offer from NJIT, but Wednesday afternoon he verbally committed to Merrimack College, a Division II program in North Andover, Mass.

“I like the coach, I like the campus, I liked my teammates,” the Boys & Girls senior said, explaining his decision. “Everything there was perfect.”

Most importantly, he added, “I know I’m going to play.”

The 6−foot−6 Young, 18, a B student who has qualified academically, didn’t get caught up in the Division I hype. He received a full scholarship from Merrimack, a liberal arts Catholic school, and a chance to play at the next level.

The program is a successful one, too – last year they made the Division II NCAA Tournament East Regional semifinals – and in Darren Duncan, a city product (from Christ the King) like Young, have a Division II All−American.

“He gets you the ball; I like him a lot,” Young said.

Young, a Crown Heights native, waited his turn at the Bed Stuy school, sitting on the bench as a junior. His senior season, he broke out, as an athletic weak−side defender, reliable mid−range jump shooter and exceptional rebounder.

“He’s an electric eel,” Queens−based talent evaluator Tom Konchalski said during the season. “He’s the high−school version of Dennis Rodman. He’s so active, quick to the ball, and he’s a great second and third jumper. Some guys, the first jump, they may go very high. He comes back to the ground and he’s right back up.”

Quiet and unassuming, he averaged eight points and 13 rebounds during the regular season leading coach Ruth Lovelace’s Kangaroos to the PSAL Class AA semifinals. In The High’s 71−63 victory over four−time city champion Lincoln Jan. 6, he had 17 points and 15 rebounds, including 11 points in the fourth quarter, during which he outplayed Maryland−bound power forward James Padgett.

“They [Merrimack ]absolutely love him,” Boys & Girls assistant coach Elmer Anderson said. “He’s excited; I’m excited, coach Love is excited. Four years ago, he was a kid who couldn’t chew bubble gum and walk at the same time. … He earned everything he got. He put the extra time in.”

“Tyler got what he wanted – he’s getting a free ride to school,” Anderson added. “He’s on his way.”

Updated 3:33 pm, October 19, 2011
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