After scoring 19 points in a 75-49 victory against FIU, Charlotte freshman point guard Jahmir Young walked into the postgame press conference with an air of confidence and maturity, similar to that of a fourth-year veteran.
Young’s ability as a freshman to handle the limelight on the court and in interviews is rare. Performances such as his 24-point outings in two-point wins against ACC opponent Wake Forest and Conference USA opponent Florida Atlantic, combined with his ability to remain composed in clutch situations, sets him apart from his peers.
For many Charlotte fans, Young’s sensational freshman season may come as a surprise, but Young expected nothing less of himself.
“Not to sound cocky, but yeah, [I expected to perform this well],” Young said. “All the work I put in this summer and building up from high school, I felt like it was time for me to play confident and see the results pay off.”
Over the summer, Young spent his time honing and expanding his abilities with the Charlotte coaching staff.
“I was here most of the summer,” Young said. “I worked on letting the game come to me, playing at different tempos and speeds, my jump shot and trying to get stronger.”
In his first collegiate season, Young’s hard work has paid off as he is averaging 12.7 points per game, a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game, 2.6 assists per game and nearly two steals each game. He’s garnered not only the attention of 49ers fans, but also the eye of the conference, quietly earning C-USA Freshman of the Week four times.
Young attributes much of his early success at Charlotte to the basketball foundation he received under the tutelage of Head Coach Mike Jones at Dematha Catholic High School, which has produced current NBA talents such as Quinn Cook, Markelle Fultz, and most notably, Victor Oladipo.
“I was at Dematha, so Mike Jones, he was a really good coach and we had a lot of talented players around me,” Young said. “In high school, playing in tough games and tough situations, made me feel like when I came here I was ready to play. I try not to treat it like I’m a freshman, just play with confidence and believe in myself.”
While assembling what is widely considered the top C-USA recruiting class of 2019, Charlotte Head Coach Ron Sanchez appreciated the pedigree of the program that Young developed in throughout high school.
“Jahmir comes from one of the best high school programs in the country; he’s so well coached,” Sanchez said. “When we ask Jahmir to do something, we’re not the first coaches that have asked him to do that. That’s why we’re so excited he decided to come play for us.”
The 49ers are benefiting from the coaching Young received while at Dematha and the hard work he put in over the summer. The 49ers have already surpassed their win total from last season and they’re off to their best start since the 2013-14 season. Additionally, Charlotte is in legitimate contention to win the C-USA Tournament. As one of the primary catalysts for this abrupt turnaround in Charlotte, Young has high goals for himself and the team.
“I just want to win as much as possible, it doesn’t matter if it’s conference play, playoffs, or the NCAA Tournament, I just want us to win games,” Young said. “Our goal would be to win the conference tournament and make some noise in the NCAA Tournament; that’s a goal for all of us this season.”
Family is one of the principal values that motivate Young to work hard and set a positive example. “I’m a family guy,” Young said. “My parents, my grandmother, just my family. I want to do the best I can for them.”
Young, the oldest of four children, strives to be an impactful role model for his brother and sister in high school and his youngest sister in middle school.
“I’m the oldest of four, so I try to set an example for my younger siblings,” Young said. “[I hope they see] my hard work ethic and start everything they finish. I just want them to be themselves.”
As a result of the strong bond Young has with his family, moving nearly seven hours away from his hometown of Marlboro, Md to Charlotte, NC was challenging. However, coaches and teammates helped make the adjustment significantly easier. Young now feels as if Charlotte is his second home.
“My transition was a little difficult. It’s been difficult being away from my family,” Young said. “But I’m building relationships. Charlotte feels like a second home. My coaches and teammates helped me transition. As teammates, we’re usually with each other all the time.”
Off the court, Young draws his academic interests from his mother, an instructional specialist for 15 Prince George County Schools.
“Right now, I’m undecided, but I’m leaning towards criminal justice or business,” Young said. “That type of stuff just interests me. I’ll probably decide next year. My mom was a criminal justice major, so she taught me some stuff and got me interested.”
In his free time, Young enjoys listening to music and cherishes the time he spends with his friends and family.
“I like a lot of music. My uncle Davies is actually a rapper from New York. My favorite rappers are Davies and Lil baby,” Young said. “I like to hangout with friends and interact with others. I’m a family guy, so I like spending time with my family.”
Young also enjoys watching highlights of current second-team All NBA player Damian Lillard.
“My favorite player is Damian Lillard,” Young said. “I really like his game and how he lets the game come to him, so in my free time, I watch his highlights.”
Young’s overall game and demeanor reflect that of a young Lillard that helped lead a program turnaround at Weber State. With a similar quiet confidence and program-altering talent as Lillard, Young hopes to continue to help build a program with lasting competitiveness and change the fortunes of Charlotte basketball.