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Ducks' Young eager to play at the next level

EUGENE — Joseph Young expects to hear his name called twice in June.

The senior will be among Oregon students introduced during graduation ceremonies scheduled for June 15.

“I got the call (last) Monday that I will walk in June,” Young said after Oregon’s season ended with a 72-65 loss to Wisconsin in the third round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday in Omaha, Neb. “It means a lot. Getting my degree is one thing Coach harped on and I thank Coach for keeping me in school to get my degree.”

Young hopes he doesn’t have to wait long for his first job when the NBA Draft is held 10 days later in New York. The 6-foot-2 guard is considered a second-round pick at best in most mock drafts, but he thinks he can boost his stock in the upcoming months.

“Now it is time to achieve my dream in the NBA Draft,” he said. “I feel like I can go pretty high, I’m thinking first round. It depends on how I do in workouts, but I am very good in workouts. They will see what I can do on the court.”

Young, who transferred to Oregon before last season from Houston, considered leaving after his junior year for the NBA Draft, but returned to school and earned Pac-12 Conference player of the year honors during a record-setting season.

Young closed out his career with 30 points against the Badgers to tie Terrell Brandon for the school single-season scoring record with 745 points this season, an average of 20.7 per game. Young also ranks sixth in single-season Oregon history with 643 points last year, giving him 1,388 points at Oregon, the most by any Duck in a two-year span.

Young ranks 15th all-time in school history for points scored and ranks second in single-season history with 265 field goals and fourth with 91 three-pointers. He set the school single-season record for free throw percentage, making 124-of-134 shots for 92.5 percent and broke the conference career record at 90 percent by making 279-of-310 free throws in two years.

Young, who finished with 2,304 career points with Houston and the Ducks, averaged 26.2 points in five postseason games this season and scored at least 25 points in four of those. He set the Oregon career record for points in the NCAA Tournament with 107 in two years, surpassing Luke Jackson’s 96 points.

“He’s meant a tremendous amount,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “The amount of pressure we put on him this year to perform game in, game out, he shouldered a lot of responsibility. … Joe had the ball in his hands a lot and we put a tremendous amount of pressure on him to make plays and bring it every game and he did a great job.”

Young moved to point guard this season and averaged a career-high 4.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists and he said he hopes those all-around improvements will help him get noticed by NBA teams.

“I learned to make the right plays, be smart, distribute the ball and get my teammates involved,” Young said. “I scored a lot better and really caught their attention. A lot of teams out there want me, I am pretty sure I will have over 30 workouts. I am going to have fun with it. My name will get called and it will be a blessing. It all started at Oregon. If I hadn’t come to Oregon, it wouldn’t happen.”

Young said he also benefited as the senior leader on a team with five freshmen.

“I learned how to overcome with a young team,” he said. “It matured me as a man to develop myself. I commend Coach for teaching me to do the right things on and off the court. What you do off the court helps on the court.”

Young led the Ducks to a 50-20 record in his two years and a berth in the third round of the NCAA Tournament in each season.

“He did a great job for his two years here,” Altman said. “He had a great work ethic and made tremendous progress, everything you want a player to do. I like the progress he made as a player.”

Young said his experience the last two years confirmed he made the right decision when he transferred from Houston and then stayed at Oregon.

“Coach, this team, the community, the alumni, the boosters, the fans, it’s truly an honor from a transfer, just coming from out of nowhere, to really accept me and to really come in and be a big part of the program,” Young said. “I’m truly blessed that Coach came and talked to me about coming back and I’m glad I came back to learn some more.”