Noah Hartsock reminds me of...

Dec 05, 2011 - Posted by Kyle Chilton on December 5, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Updated: December 6, 2011 7:52 am

I’m going to start a sentence and I want you to finish it with the name of a BYU basketball player.

Noah Hartsock’s career path reminds me of …

Who did you come up with? If you said Keena Young, you read my mind.

Now we’re not comparing their style of play. While both could hit the mid-range jumper and were crafty inside players, the idea here is to compare their careers and the roles they played beginning with their sophomore seasons to when they emerged as leaders their senior years. Their freshman years are left out since Young transferred to BYU as a sophomore.

Sophomore Year

As sophomores, neither Young nor Hartsock were big-time scorers but both played key roles. Both were fifth on the team in scoring and both players led their respective teams in rebounding.

Stats Season Starts Min/G Ppg Rpg
Young 2004-05 15 22.2 7.3 5.6
Hartsock 2009-10 30 24.4 6.5 5.1

Junior Year

Young’s junior year marked Dave Rose’s first year as head coach. Young was third in scoring and second in rebounding while helping the Cougars improve from nine wins the year prior to 20 wins in 2005-06. Hartsock’s junior year saw BYU win a program-best 32 games and earn a trip to the Sweet 16. He was fourth on the team in scoring and second in rebounding. Their scoring and rebounding rankings were similar and both were a part of important seasons in BYU’s history — Young as a member of Rose’s first season and Hartsock a member of BYU’s first Sweet 16 run in 30 years.

Stats Season Starts Min/G Ppg Rpg
Young 2005-06 14 23.4 10.3 5.8
Hartsock 2010-11 36 29.7 8.6 5.9

Senior Year

This to me is where it gets interesting. While it would have been logical to expect both players to play a bigger role as seniors, neither player was the leading returning scorer on his respective team. But Young took his game to a new level while Hartsock is in the middle of a great senior campaign.

Young was the second leading-returning scorer behind Trent Plaisted, who was coming off a freshman All-America campaign. Many thought Plaisted would be the star but Young was dominant, leading the team in scoring and rebounding while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 80.3 percent from the free throw. Young was named MWC Player of the Year and led BYU to 25 wins and the MWC regular season title.

Eight games in, Hartsock is demonstrating consistency, leadership and productivity all fueled by a great competitive nature and will to win. While there was no question his point totals would see an increase with the departure of Jimmer and Jackson, he has taken his game to a new level, nearly doubling his scoring average while his minutes have only gone up 2.4 per game. He’s also second on the team in rebounding and shooting 57.8 percent from the field, 41.7 percent from three and 81.3 percent from the free throw line.

Stats Season Starts Min/G Ppg Rpg
Young 2006-07 34 28.9 17.4 6.6
Hartsock 2011-12 8 32.1 16.9 6.3

One other parallel that I notice is the patience displayed by both players. Like most Division I athletes, Young and Hartsock were big-time high school athletes whose roles changed drastically when they got to college. Both went to work, helped their teams by filling a role and improved their games. When the opportunity presented itself to step into a bigger role to help their teams, both were ready to accept the challenge.