Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Thank you Frank

Frank hugs his imaginary friend 'Sammy' after hitting another three.Frank Young set the school record for threes in a season last night, scored 14 straight points for WVU during one stretch, 25 points overall, and performed the "Frank the Tank" dance Will Ferrell does in Old School after the game. The game was sloppy early and rocky throughout due to inconsistent officiating. The referees couldn't decide whether to let the kids play or start calling everything and just alternated in between. The crowd was less than pleased.

When the NIT selections were announced we knew we'd get at least one more home game, but it was the NIT and not the Big Dance we thought we deserved. I made it to two of the three games (including last night) and will always be happy we went to the NIT for one reason alone; it was a chance to give Frank Young a proper goodbye. Frank has scored 17, 31, and 25 in the NIT. He has hit numerous big shots the last two games alone including two back breaking threes last night when NC State finally took the lead. If any player for WVU in the Beilein era deserved another goodbye it was Frank. He is the player I respect the most over that time.

Frank Young played in 24 games as a freshman averaged 1 point per game and shot 22% from the floor. During that time Frank looked scared when he got in the game and just wanted to get a quick score to settle down. Unfortunately, often the first couple of quick shots missed and he was done. Not much changed as a sophomore until the Big East tournament. With Tyrone Salley unable to play due to illness, Frank was forced to play over 20 minutes a game. He scored 14 and 12 in much needed tournament wins and then 8 apiece in the finals and first round of the NCAAs. Last year Frank was the forgotten starter. He scored 7.4 per game and played over 20 minutes per game, but it was always the five seniors that were mentioned together. This was Franks year to shine, but on a team picked to finish 12th in the Big East.

Watching Frank play you see a player that could have been elite if only he didn't have old man legs. Frank has a lack of explosion that keeps him from being able to consistently create his own shot or elevate over a defender. At times it actually looks painful for Frank to get up and down the court. In fact the two times I've seen Frank dunk live not only did the crowd go crazy, but the bench exploded like I've yet to see again this year. However, the biggest flaw in his game simply humanizes Frank. It forces him to become relatable to everyone watching as he must consistently outsmart a defender to get a shot off. Whether it be coming off a screen, fading to the side or backwards, or shooting on an odd rhythm, Frank has to constantly change his offense. Frank has overcome the lack of explosion by become a deadly shooter if he can get his feet set. This is always the chess match within the game for Frank and his defender. Frank has averaged 15 a game and shot 44% from the floor often winning the match.

However, the thing I respect most about Frank's game is the heart he shows. Frank is 6'5" and in our defense is constantly checking the power forward of other Big East teams. Meaning Frank is playing a guy with 2-5 inches on him and a better athlete. Yet I can't think of teams really being able to attack Frank all year. He is also .1 rebounds/game behind Joe Alexander and Rob Summers as our leading rebounder. Also he is constantly throwing his old man legs all over the floor after any lose ball. And if there is a big shot in the game everyone knows Frank is going to take it. He still manages to get the shot off somehow.

Congratulations Frank, you deserved the two straight threes last night to put WVU up 2 after trailing for the first time in the second half. You deserved the 14 straight points and the Frank the Tank chant. You led a team to 9-7 in the Big East, a win over UCLA, and two over NC State. You deserve a bigger stage than the NIT, but instead of pouting you have led the team back to NYC where you've scored 21 and 19 in your Big East Tournament games this year. So congratulations Frank and thank you for everything.


Steve said...

AMEN!! thanks frank young and lets go mountaineers!

letsplaytummysticks said...

Thanks for the comment, it's usually just us making fun of each other on these.

Brave Sir Robin said...

You were tugging a bit at the hearstrings you old sailor you.

JO3 said...

Frank is wayyyyyyyyyyyy taller than 6'5. Try 6'7, atleast, but probably closer to 6'8.