Kevin Young Lays Out Top Priorities To Begin Tenure As BYU Head Coach

Apr 18, 2024, 2:21 AM

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PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball head coach Kevin Young was a splashy hire for a university not known for its splash.

The lead Phoenix Suns assistant, now BYU headman, impressed and didn’t deter people’s high hopes for him after his introductory press conference.

Young addressed the media and BYU dignitaries at the Marriott Center on Wednesday.

The clean-shaven Young was direct in his answers and laid out some of the top priorities for him as he settles in as BYU’s head coach and finishes out his role as the Suns’ associate head coach through their playoff run.

Retaining current BYU basketball players

Young’s first matter of business at BYU is the current players on the roster.

“You were the first ones I saw when I got into this building. … The things that you guys were able to accomplish first year in the Big 12, absolutely remarkable,” said Young. “I cannot wait to have everyone one of you guys back in a BYU uniform and get to it.”

One of those players in attendance was BYU’s starting point guard from this past season, Dallin Hall. Hall had a lengthy conversation with Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge, who was in attendance for Young’s presser.

Other notable players in attendance were Fousseyni Traore, Trevin Knell, Atiki Ally Atiki, and Dawson Baker.

“Make no mistake about it. My first priority is those guys,” Young said. “I’ve already started building relationships with those guys. We’re going to take that part of it to a whole other level. If I’ve learned anything in the NBA, this whole thing is about relationships.”

Young has been in professional basketball for the past 15 seasons. He was last in the Utah Valley when he worked with the Utah Flash in the NBA G-League, which was then called the NBA Developmental League.

Young is one of the most respected assistants in the NBA. His professional background is an area that he wants to use to his advantage at BYU.

Kevin Young wants BYU to prepare players for the NBA

Young didn’t shy away from his desire to turn BYU into a program that produces NBA prospects.

“Coming from my background and talking to the players, all of them have ambitions to play in the NBA. I think that with my background, this is an amazing place and has been for a long time. What I want to do is take it to the next level and make this the best place in college basketball to prepare young men to play in the NBA. I think with my background, I think we’re gonna be able to get that done.”

Young inherits a BYU program with six scholarships remaining on the current roster. The Cougars are coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance as a 6-seed this past season. He has room to piece together a roster in his vision to get back to the Big Dance.

Juggling his Phoenix Suns job

To assemble that roster, he must juggle his current role with the Suns, which Young acknowledges will be challenging.

“I look forward to it. A lot of special things and relationships I have with those guys down in Phoenix. A couple of them I’ve been with for four years, and two wins away from winning an NBA Championship with “Book” (Devin Booker), in particular. He’s kind of the main guy left from that crew.”

However, Young sees value in getting BYU’s name out there during the NBA Playoffs, which begins for the Suns on Saturday against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.

“I think it’s a really unique experience to tell the next chapter of BYU’s story in terms of leveraging this playoff run that hopefully we’re on. Both for our players, for our fans, for recruits, and for all of that stuff. I think it’s a real separator, I believe.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Kevin Young Lays Out Top Priorities To Begin Tenure As BYU Head Coach