Reporting Shane Kitzman
From as early on as elementary school, Taylor Young‘s grandfather dished out basketball critiques of his granddaughter without pulling any punches.
“He is pretty brutally honest,” Young said. “He’d say ‘You played horrible.’ He made all of us cry on a regular basis. It definitely helped me in the long run. That’s his coaching style, once you know he’s not trying to personally hurt your feelings.”
That tough-love grandpa is none other than Bob Erdman, whose illustrious basketball career included coaching the Gustavus team in the 1980s, and amassing nearly 500 wins as a prep coach.
Erdman’s feedback – plus Young’s father, Rodney, sharing his knowledge of the game, as he was a Division II player in his time – provided the groundwork for Young to quickly develop into a star on the hardwood.
The 5-foot-11-inch forward was just named a 2012 preseason Division III All-American selection.
The St. Thomas junior, who led the Tommies in scoring last year (13 ppg) en route to a third-place finish in the Division III national tournament, is leading UST yet again this winter (11 ppg).
Scoring more than 1,000 points for Edina High School after joining the team as an eighth grader, Young has brought her success to the collegiate level and hasn’t lost a MIAC conference crown since wearing purple. The 2011-12 team went 22-0 in league play last year.
While the No. 4-ranked Tommies are 7-1 overall, 5-0 in the conference, the exercise science major took a time out to share her post-graduation dreams of working in third-world countries.
Sometimes I bump into her on my way to class. She’s taking Spanish and macroeconomics for fun. (Taylor’s mother takes courses for free, given her daughter is a student).
If you’re not playing basketball or studying, you’re … ?
Watching Netflix. I’m addicted, and currently re-watching “Alias.” I watched “Prison Break” and it destroyed six months of my life. I also love doing yoga in the offseason.
Surprised by the preseason All-America selection?
I don’t really think that kind of stuff matters a ton. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’ll be anything at the end of the season.
Team goals for 2012-13?
Our goal is to get back to the Final Four and win a national championship, hopefully. We have a lot of talented players, but then we become good friends and that’s what makes us so good – we don’t play individually. Coach (Ruth Sinn) holds us to high standards, we have intense practices and work hard.
Why not possibly have played Division I instead?
I talked to a few, but my sister Lauren had a bad experience at Colorado State and didn’t enjoy it. She never came home for Thanksgiving and barely made it back for Christmas. I didn’t want that.
Plans after graduation?
Probably grad school for nursing, but I would love to travel and get experiences like that under my belt. My dream vacation is Africa. I want to go and be in a village, work with people, and be involved in medicine while I’m there.
I can never say no to Davanni’s pizza. My favorite pizza has pepperoni, sausage and banana peppers on it.
I love Harry Potter books, Dan Brown books, and “The Lovely Bones”
“Kill Bill Vol. 1 and 2,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Crash,” and “Bridesmaids”
Favorite Christmas carol?
“Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”
Favorite aspect of St. Thomas?
Obviously my basketball team. We’re best friends and hang out all the time. I like being more of a student-athlete than just athlete.
Favorite basketball player?
Dwyane Wade. I just remember watching him when he was at his peak in 2006 and won the NBA Finals.