OSU's Toni Young looks ahead
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Saturday, February 23, 2013
2/23/13 at 5:54 AM
STILLWATER - What Toni Young doesn't know can't stress her out.
"I tell our coaches, if (WNBA coaches) show up, don't even tell me," Young said. "Don't put the pressure on me. Just let me go play."
In recent weeks, several WNBA coaches have attended Oklahoma State games to scout Young, a senior forward whose athleticism makes her a prospect despite her raw talent.
"There's a lot of positives in her game," OSU coach Jim Littell said, "but there's a lot that she needs to continue to work on to expand and play at the next level."
Knowing the possibility exists is motivation for Young.
"I've put myself in a position to actually get somewhere," she said. "I've been focused on getting better and being more productive than I've been in previous years."
Young has improved and is striving for more consistency. She has scored in double figures in 33 consecutive games and has recorded three double-doubles in a row heading into Saturday's Bedlam rematch in Stillwater.
Against Kansas State last week, she had 23 points and 18 rebounds and was named the Big 12 Player of the Week.
The MVP of last season's WNIT, Young didn't play basketball until her sophomore year of high school. One of 10 children growing up in Del City, her first sport was volleyball.
Some aspects of basketball remain a struggle, particularly staying out of foul trouble.
"It is really hard," she said. "Being a volleyball player, you're taught to swat. Sometimes I swat when I don't need to instead of just jumping straight up.
"But the last couple of games I've been trying to really focus on staying down and putting my hands up."
Young also competed in the high jump for OSU last spring and finished runner-up in the Big 12. She placed fifth at the NCAA Championships with a school-record jump of 6 feet, 1.5 inches.
Not bad considering she was competing against women who trained all year round.
"You can tell," Young said. "My form is horrible compared to theirs."
A fifth-year scholarship for track was offered if she wants to return next season, but for now that's not the plan.
"I can't let basketball go," she said. "If I can keep playing, I'm going to keep playing.
"(Track) is just a hobby. It's not where my heart is. That's basketball."
Still, Young knows the difficult path that lies ahead.
"It's hard for a 6-1 forward to even make the roster," she said. "You might get a chance to go try out, but a lot of players don't make it."
In the very least, Young wants to play overseas. But she remains hopeful to get a chance at the WNBA.
"I think if a coach gave me an opportunity to show them what I can do and let me keep improving on their team, I can make the roster," she said.
Kelly Hines 918-581-8452