A familiar face showed up for Creighton’s practice Tuesday afternoon.
Former Bluejay point guard Antoine Young, in between professional gigs in Mexico and the Netherlands, is back in Omaha for a short visit.
“I have a little time off,” Young said, “but I figured I better touch a ball and get a workout in before heading off to Holland.”
It’s already been an eventful rookie season for Young, who finished up a distinguished Creighton career last March by getting his team to the third round of the NCAA tournament.
Young originally signed a professional contract to play in Switzerland but left the team after about six weeks.
“I didn’t like our owners,” Young said, “and it just wasn’t a good setup. I figured out pretty early that wasn’t the place for me.”
Next stop for Young was the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional, or the Mexican professional league. He played in Leon, a city of about a million and half residents located about 250 miles northwest of Mexico City.
The league is made up of 16 teams. Young said most of the travel was by bus but the teams played in nice arenas before enthusiastic fans.
“The fans are hardcore,” Young said. “They create a real fun environment. They really get into it, with drums and everything.
“The first time I heard someone banging a drum, I looked up to see what the heck that was. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t something else and I needed to take cover.”
Young’s team, the Lechugueros de León (Leon Lettucemen), wrapped up their season by getting swept in a three-game playoff series. That gave Young a chance to take a little time off before he heads for Europe to finish out the season in the Netherlands.
He said he’s uncertain where he’ll play next season, although he might consider trying to hook on with a team in the NBA’s Development League.
He said he’s enjoyed the experience of playing abroad but it’s definitely different. His time in Mexico made him realize just how small the world really is.
One of the biggest shots Young made in his Creighton career was the buzzer-beater that allowed the Bluejays to defeat Long Beach State in a BracketBusters game last February.
Two of his roommates in Mexico were players from that Long Beach team.
“At first, it was a little weird,” Young said, chuckling, “but they turned out to be really good dudes.”