His father provided a large legacy, but Schaumburg's Zion Young is his own man
Schaumburg junior Zion Young has the pleasure of seeing his father at school all the time. Just hanging out.
"He's got his picture on the wall. Every day I go to gym I look at him like, 'I'm that guy's son,'" he said.
That guy on Schaumburg's Wall of Fame is Tony Young, who as a junior was the defensive bulldog on the Saxons' 2001 Class AA boys basketball champion, the 29-3 team that beat Eddy Curry and Thornwood.
As a senior Tony earned Mid-Suburban League West MVP and Illinois Basketball Coaches Association third-team all-state honors. At Southern Illinois he was a three-time Missouri Valley Conference All-Defensive Team pick and first-team MVC as a junior.
Zion, though, is his own man. He's got to be.
Tony Young, a guard, was all fast-twitch fibers. Zion, always among the biggest of his peers, is a 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward-post off to a fast start in his first year at Schaumburg.
Transferring from Fenwick after his sophomore year - his father was the Friars' coach for two years after four seasons at Marmion - Zion is averaging close to a double-double at 13.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and nearly 2 blocks a game.
Saxons coach Jason Tucker called Zion's arrival "a blessing." After Tuesday's 30-29 victory against Prospect the Saxons were 7-0 and Tucker was sitting on 299 career victories, including totals from prior coaching stints at Taft, Sullivan and Luther North.
"It was out of nowhere that he came in, and he fit in like a glove," Tucker said. "A great thing is he's been playing with these guys for a long time. He's a very unselfish player, he cares about winning more than he cares about himself, and he impacts everything."
Zion was raised in East St. Louis, where Tony Young was the Flyers' boys basketball coach and athletic director. Before Zion entered fourth grade the Youngs moved back to Schaumburg.
He's known all of his teammates since then and played with several in the Junior Saxons feeder program, such as Javonte McCoy, Clark Easley, Mike Tancredi and All-Area returner Jordan Tunis.
"We were excited about the year even before Zion got here, now it just added a lot more," Tucker said. Unless something crazy happens this unit will blow away last year's 10-20 record.
Tony Young gets a kick out of hearing his son's name called in the same gym he played in, but he realizes there may be pressure involved in that, too. Tony was pleased that when uniforms were assigned Zion took No. 25, not Tony's old 15.
"I couldn't do nothing but respect that, I love it," Tony Young said.
"My job is to make sure he understands that he can't get by off the work that I did. He has to make a name for himself and it's probably going to be a little bit harder because of people's expectations," he said.
"My thing to Zion is keep being yourself and enjoy the game."
He's doing that, and has his own downstate goals. But it's still surreal when Zion passes that photo on the way to gym class.
"It's just unreal that my dad won state and I'm going here, playing basketball," he said.