If you happened to miss reading an article in October about Jim Young, which was written by Post-Journal assistant sports editor Scott Kindberg, it was truly something special. Kindberg's opening paragraph really spoke volumes about Young:
"He was my neighbor 40 years ago on Jamestown's westside, he drove a Volkswagen and he played for a high school basketball team that was better - at least from an 11-year-old's perspective - than what any collegiate or pro organization could put on the hardwood.
''To me, Jim Young was a star. What I didn't know was that he was just beginning to crack the surface of his potential."
And that potential is why Young will be inducted into the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 18 at the Lakewood Rod & Gun Club.
The other inductees will be Ron Blackmer, Cal Cederquist, Ron Blackmer, the late Jim Foti and Walt Thurnau.
During the 1971-72 season at JHS, Young made his own mark on a team that featured legendary players Terry Chili and Mark Edstrom by averaging 15 points per game as the point guard while playing for another coaching legend, John "Dutch" Leonard. That team packed the JHS gym regularly and when it all said and done, it brought home a Section 6 championship, beating Kenmore West, 56-46, in come-from-behind fashion.
After leaving Jamestown, Young moved on to St. Lawrence University in late 1972 and after a couple of seasons, he broke through in his sophomore season, leading the squad to a pair of the college's most successful seasons ever, setting four records along the road.
To further quote Kindberg's article, "Those teams compiled a 65-32 record during his four seasons and won two league titles in addition to making two NCAA tournament appearances. He helped the team set a record for wins in a season as a sophomore, leading it to a 17-6 record and improved that record during his junior year as the Saints won 20 games for the first time in their history. He averaged 12.8 points for his career with a high single season average of 23.9 points per game as a senior. He set the record for points in a game, with a 48-point night against St. John Fisher as a senior and had 241 career assists in addition to setting records for free throw percentage and free throws in a season. He was captain of the team as a senior. Jim scored 1,233 career points which ranked second on the all-time list at the time of his graduation. He was an All East selection as a junior and senior and also earned all-conference honors."
After graduation, Young's connection to the game didn't end and through his former coach at St. Lawrence, he was introduced to the owner of Loughborough of the English Basketball Association, who was in need of an American shooting guard.
After some discussion, Young signed on and as the only American guard in the league, he led EBA in scoring with an average above 30 points per game and set a club record of 54 points in a single game over a 35-game span.
Young now lives in northern California and that basketball connection remains intact as he coaches middle and high school basketball at Mendocino High School.
The CSHOF induction dinner will begin with a hospitality session at 5 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Bruce Baumgartner, regarded as the greatest heavyweight freestyle wrestler in American history, will be the guest speaker.
Tickets may be purchased at the Jamestown Cycle Shop, Matt's News in Dunkirk and the Fredonia Food Mart. Tickets can also be ordered by calling Chip Johnson at 485-6991.
The price per ticket is $50. CSHOF members receive a $5 discount.