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Former Pitt star Young hurt at NBA tryout

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By John Grupp
Thursday, May 14, 2009

Former Pitt star Sam Young has always been a cool customer. So when a screw punctured his arm in a fluke accident at a workout with the Toronto Raptors last weekend, the All-America small forward was unfazed.

"It will be OK," Young said Wednesday. "It's not going to affect anything, not even a little bit."

Young, who is preparing for the June 25 NBA Draft, required a brief visit to a Toronto hospital but is expected to return to workouts later this week.

He was hurt while being tested for his vertical leap. He twisted his body as he leapt, and a screw on the vertical-leap pole pierced his left arm. Rather than risk tearing any muscle, the Raptors personnel removed the screw from the pole, left it in Young's arm and took him to the hospital to have it dislodged.

"They didn't want to rip the screw out of his arm," said Young's agent, Lance Young (no relation). "They said to make sure he takes his antibiotics for infection."

Lance Young said the injury didn't require any stitches and currently is protected by a small butterfly bandage and medical tape. Young was told to avoid overexerting the arm for about a week.

"It was a freak accident," said Young, the fourth-leading scorer in Pitt history.

The injury prevented the 6-foot-6, 220-pounder from working out with the Raptors, but he will have many more chances to prove himself to NBA scouts.

Young, 23, was invited to workouts at Oklahoma City on June 2 and New Jersey on June 14, with about a dozen NBA teams represented at each site. He also will attend the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago from May 27-31.

"My calendar is full of workouts," Young said. "At the end of the day, I'll showcase what I can do."

In the meantime, Young is training with other NBA Draft hopefuls, including guards Wesley Matthews of Marquette and Jack McClinton of Miami.

Young, rated by as the No. 4 small forward, has drawn interest from Detroit, Indiana, Oklahoma City and Portland. Working with trainers, conditioners and nutritionists, Young is focusing on ballhandling and shooting in the morning and conditioning and lifting weights in the afternoon.

"I've improved my ability off the dribble, shooting off the dribble, being able to read defenders better and manipulate what they do," Young said. "I rarely ever dunk in my process right now. I do nothing but shoot and work on my ballhandling.

"I'm approaching (the pre-draft) the same way I approached the whole season. It's time to go to work."

Young and former Pitt consensus first-team All-America DeJuan Blair, who is working out in Bradenton, Fla., are projected first-round picks. Pitt has had two first-round picks in the same year only once (Charles Smith and Jerome Lane in 1988).

Young, who spoke to Blair on Monday, said he has been preparing for this moment his whole life and is unflustered by any part of the pre-draft process - even a wayward screw impaling his arm.

"It's a big deal on the outside," Young said. "But really it's nothing special, because it's where I'm supposed to be."

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