By Stephen Smoot
Coaches, teachers, parents, family, friends, and teammates joined together last week to celebrate Pendleton County’s Ana Young signing to play basketball at Concord University in Athens. The three-sport star, who is also a champion in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA, was featured as WHSV Channel 3’s Athlete of the Week this month as well.
Young said “I’m feeling very joyful and very blessed to have this opportunity.” Her high school coaches also expressed joy and excitement. “We’re very proud of her,” said Micah Bailey, the Lady Wildcats’ basketball coach. He added that “her work ethic is unmatched.”
That same quality helped to put Young on the radar of Concord University women’s basketball coach Tesla Southcutt. She shared that Young’s work ethic contributes mightily to team success, saying “she gives to her teammates, her program, and anyone around her.”
Concord spent two years recruiting Young, giving their coaching staff time to evaluate her. Southcutt described the staff’s excitement, saying “we’ve fallen in love with her game over the past two years.”
Great players exhibit the intangibles as well. Southcott described how “her game has a lot of leadership qualities at both the offensive and defensive end.” The program expects her to eventually fill “a big leadership role,” as well as contributing “passion and a competitive nature.”
Young comes at a perfect time for a program in transition. Until last year, Concord relied on a 6’5” inside presence for success on both ends of the floor. With that player now graduated, Southcutt looks to establish a faster paced style requiring superior athletes who can think on their feet. She says Young has tremendous athleticism and “great size for a combination guard at our level.”
Her height and quickness also help her to disrupt opposing offenses during both fast breaks and set plays. Young’s defense often spurs Pendleton County’s quick paced attack.
Southcutt sees Young as potentially either a point or a shooting guard in the college game. She explained that Young is “able to score the basketball in so many different elements.” This includes a precise shot from outside. As the coach says, “you give her too much space, she nails the three.” As good a scorer as Young could be, Southcutt also says that “she could be a great point guard at our level.”
Young also earned all-state and all Potomac Valley Conference honors last fall as a star for the Wildcat volleyball squad. Her relentless play at the net intimidated opponents throughout the Potomac Highlands. Coach Rod Cooper expressed that he’s “super, super excited for her. I know how much it means for her to sign.” He added that “she’s worked hard and we’re proud of her.”
“It’s great to know that we have that caliber of a kid in our state,” Southcutt stated. Bailey agreed, explaining that “it’s a special thing to have someone from such a small town and see her do the great things she is going to do.”